Casino fined $1 million for stealing proprietary information


It can be easy for people to steal information about the slot machines in the Atlantic City casinos in New Jersey. All they need is the right key - at least according to one recent story. The generic reset key, also called the 2341 key, is at the center of a complaint against one casino after an employee was caught using the key to steal proprietary information from slot machines at rival casinos.

A recently-filed settlement agreement forces Peppermill Casino in Nevada to pay $1 million to gaming regulators for condoning the employee's actions. The man, who works as a corporate analyst for the casino, was caught using the reset key at a rival casino in July. But that wasn't the only casino from which he was stealing information. An investigation showed that the man had been using the key since 2011 and had stolen information from 11 casinos total.

Although the key can't change the outcome of a game, it does allow access to vital information, such as game configuration, play history and event logs. Technicians use this key either to reset games after large jackpots or to gather information about a specific machine. Anybody, not just casino employees, can gain access to this key. In fact, the 2341 key is so common that it is available to the public through eBay and technology sites.

It can be difficult for casinos to keep their information private when virtually anyone can access this type of key. However, casinos - or any employer - may be liable for their employees' actions depending on the situation. It can be tempting to gain access to any type of information that can bring down a competitor. However, employees and employers need to understand the proper procedures and understand the potential consequences when they engage in unfair competition or other inappropriate behavior.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, " Update: Peppermill facing $1M fine for accessing competitors' slots," Jason Hidalgo, Feb. 14, 2014