Hot copy: Stories that caught our eye this week from around the sector

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Welcome to Telegram Resorts International

MGM Resorts International customers received a shock this week, as Hackread.com revealed that personal data from millions of the operator’s patrons had been shared on a Telegram channel.

A hacker going by the online handle NightLion was reported to have stolen a database belonging to MGM Resorts in 2020, gaining access to the personal data of a whopping 142 million customers in the process.

At the time, the data was being peddled on dark web marketplaces alongside illegal drugs, weaponry and killers-for-hire, for the princely sum of $2,900.

More recently, however, the records of some 30 million customers were shared to a public Telegram group and made available for free to other hackers, scam artists and associated ne’er do wells, who Hackread warned could use the information to identify potential victims for phishing email campaigns and other scams.

Apparently, Telegram is becoming the platform of choice for cyber criminals to share such data breaches, with a recent story exposing that the personal data of 21 million SuperVPN, GeckoVPN and ChatVPN users had also been made available for download on the messaging app.

Customers of MGM Resorts and the above VPN services are being reminded of the usual advice to be wary of people contacting them online.

Curse of Drake continues in Formula One

God’s Plan singer Drake made a disastrous – and probably short-lived – foray into the world of Formula One betting this week, as reported by Great Britain’s bastion of ethical journalism, the Daily Mail.

Apparently, the Toronto-born rapper stuck C$300,000 on 24-year-old Ferrari driver Charles LeClerc to win Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, with LeClerc starting in pole position before being forced to retire early.

In a nightmare turn which could wake up racing fans and punters alike in a cold sweat, after leading the race for 27 laps the young driver’s car suddenly lost power and sputtered to a halt, allowing Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to overtake and steal victory.

Of course, Drake placed the losing bet via Stake, a crypto-focused sportsbook with which he holds a commercial partnership.

Even though he lost this bet, we hope that Drake wasn’t left with Trust Issues when it comes to betting on sports. It might not have been the Best [He] Ever Had, but if you Know Yourself, you know that Time Flies when you’re betting on sports.

And if you’re as rich as Drake, why not bet some away on your favourite contests? After all, you can’t take it with you so there’s no sense having Money In The Grave, and even if he is upset, the rapper can always Laugh Now Cry Later.

It almost certainly wasn’t Drake’s own money that he was gambling with, however, with the rapper being put in front of the cameras as an influencer and an affiliate.

Then again, with a reported net worth of $250m at just 35 years old, perhaps it was divine intervention that stopped Drake from winning a penny more. In other words, it was all God’s Plan.

Tabcorp has a Lott to lose

Tabcorp’s recently spun-off lottery division, Lottery Corp, was welcomed with open arms onto the Australian Securities Exchange this week, with the newly formed company instantly gaining a A$10bn valuation on the market.

While some are holding up the firm as a potential takeover target, chief executive and managing director Sue van der Merwe put those claims to bed as she told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that she was not convinced by the prospect.

Instead, van der Merwe insisted the company was focused on what it can control, including its growth strategy based on the introduction of new products and entry into international markets.

“We feel it’s important we focus on the current business, and we don’t lose sight of the importance of that,” she told the AFR

“Having said that, opportunities to grow outside that are something of interest to us. And something we need to unpack more with the board in the coming months.”

Lottery Corp’s stock traded between A$4.49 and A$4.70 on its first day on the exchange, with valuations based on A$611m of EBITDA and $3.2bn in revenue during the twelve months ended 30 June 2021.

Meanwhile, shares in the remaining Tabcorp business tanked by more than 80% to A$1.01, as the lion’s share of its revenue-generating assets were spun off.

According to the AFR, Tabcorp’s wagering and media business returned to growth for the first time in four financial years in 2020-21, before withering under pressures related to the pandemic in the first half of 2021-22. During the same period, the lotteries business skyrocketed to record results.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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