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From: InfoSec News (alertsinfosecnews.org)
Date: Wed Aug 19 2009 - 00:39:10 CDT
By Liz Benston
The Las Vegas Sun
Aug. 17, 2009
At the heart of a casino’s marketing machine lies its players club,
which uses swipe cards to track gamblers’ play as they rack up points to
redeem for meals, hotel stays, merchandise and even cash.
So critical are these massive, good-as-cash databases to casino profits
that, if there were to be an Oceans 14 movie, the next great casino
heist might target the computers that manage them.
And it wouldn’t be fiction. Casino insiders are raiding gamblers’
loyalty points, according to casino regulators and security experts.
In one scheme, says Gaming Control Board member Randy Sayre, casino
employees with access to players club databases transferred points from
customers’ accounts to bogus accounts from which an accomplice was able
to redeem the points for tangible rewards. Employees also have created
accounts and loaded them with bogus points.
The thefts are sometimes uncovered when the customer discovers his
account has been drained. Were it not for customers’ vigilance, some
thefts might go undetected.
Sayre declined to identify the casinos or further describe the suspects,
and arrest information for unidentified suspects is not available.
Control board agents have arrested multiple players club thieves in
recent years in scams that have cost casinos hundreds of thousands of
dollars, Sayre said.
The thefts have prompted new course work focusing on players club
security as part of casino surveillance and security programs at UNLV
and the University of Nevada, Reno, and the control board will hold
workshops in coming weeks with casino operators to try to clamp down.
Stealing players club points is the latest development in casino
thievery, which includes such old-school efforts as swiping chips,
manipulating cards or using metal devices to tamper with slot machines.
Catching insiders who embezzle points can be difficult, security experts
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