As of the 16th of April 2023, Gateway Casino and Entertainment's operations in Ontario have been put to a brief stop due to a cyber attack the system suffered the previous weekend.
This British Columbia-based chain of casinos manages quite a few casino establishments around Ontario, such as Gateway Casino Thunder By, Gateway Casinos London and Gateway Casino Woodstock. These are only three of 23 Gateway Casinos operating in this state.
For the moment, it is unclear how long these casinos will be inaccessible to audiences and it is hoped that this is just a temporary shutdown.
It has been emphasised, however, that this shutdown announcement only affects the casino operations and not those of the franchise's hotels, spas, restaurants and other such services. Both online and land-based casino services and products by this company are currently unavailable.
Above is an image of an official statement made on CTV news by Gateway Casino London.
On the franchise's official website, another announcement was made stating that these casinos will only be closed for "the coming days as [they] work on restoring [their] IT systems".
What happened exactly?
In the concise statement posted by Gateway Casinos on their website, it was described that the cyber attack was centred around the casinos' security systems. This is why it was necessary to so abruptly close these casinos and halt their activity for a couple of days.
The franchise ensures having taken the right steps towards correcting this issue as soon as possible by working with third-party professionals who are attempting to reinstate these security systems, therefore, allowing the casinos to take off with operations again.
However, it remains uncertain when the reopening will be.
The main concern is that not only does this attack affect the casinos' ability to welcome clients daily and its general operations, but of course, the clients themselves.
A security breach means that the casinos' clients' personal data may have been compromised.
It has not been shared whether anyone's information has been leaked or maliciously used following the occurrence of this cyberattack, and since the company's announcement of its temporary shutdown on April 16th, it has made no further comments on this question.
It has, however, promised to involve the relevant privacy officials and online gambling regulatory bodies in the management of this event.
Unfortunately, this cyber-security breach has also negatively impacted the casinos' employees. Since the casinos' shutdown, ununionized members of the casinos' task force are worried about ending up unemployed, especially since a clear date for reopening has not been confirmed.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time such a cyber attack has occurred since the regulation of iGaming in Ontario and the rest of Canada.
While regulating online casinos and casino products is highly beneficial for the economy of Canada, obviously joining this enterprise does come with its own risks.
Being based online, it is susceptible to such breaches, attacks, hacks, fraud and viruses which could compromise the entire casino, its products and services and unfortunately, also the safety of its registered members, especially those depositing real money into their accounts.
If it's not your first time visiting our website to look at game reviews and information about various online casinos in Canada, you know that we always emphasize the importance of making sure the casino you join is a fully licensed one which encrypts its website and activity.
Joining a licensed casino does not only ensure that you're playing on a legit platform but is also a guarantee that in cases of cyber attacks, the casino is fully capable and prepared to deal with it appropriately, putting in maximum effort to protect its players' data, first and foremost.
Although this past year, during which Canadian governing entities have been working hard on legalizing and regulating online gambling was incredibly successful, we must stay wary of the dark side of this industry.
GeoComply is an agency which monitors internet activity for crime, fraud and other hostile online activity.
It recently released statistics and information which really opened our eyes to how our entrance into this market, has brought about a lot of danger for internet users in Canada, specifically those partaking in online gambling.
When looking at Ontario specifically, GeoComply has noted that hundreds of thousands of internet users from outside of Canada have been attempting to join casinos and online casino company websites available to the audience in Ontario.
This is not a major concern in our opinion, as a large number of these users could be using VPN (although this is strongly unadvised and also illegal on many gambling platforms) to take advantage of special promotions or play certain games exclusively available to the Canadian market.
What was more concerning to us, is that GeoComply recorded 3.3 million attempts from internet users at location spoofing, in which case it is almost certain that this would result in a cyber attack, data falsification and fraudulent activity.
We hope these threats are taken seriously, for the sake of Canadian players.
Organisations such as the Alcohol and Gambling Commission of Ontario have been doing a great job at keeping illegal online gambling platforms at bay in our markets, regulating only dependable and trustworthy online casino companies.
However, we have not heard much about the overall safety of the player and of the online casino companies being invited to join the market as fully legal and regulated entities.
While these security structures are devised and put in place, we once again advise you to always check out that the casino you choose is licensed by valid authorities and that the appropriate technology is being used to keep the website safe and all of the players' information along with it.
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