Cashless gaming trial hacked and halted

June 28, 2023
Clyde Mooney

Hackers have ended a trial on cashless gaming, after reports the system was breached in a cyber-attack.

The digital wallet trial began last October, under the Perrottet government, at Wests Newcastle leagues club at New Lambton, installed on 144 Aristocrat machines.

It involved digital wallet technology, provided by Banktech, connecting participants’ phones to machines via Bluetooth. Funds can then be transferred into the wallet, to be used for food and beverage, or gaming.

But last week, toward the end of the trial, the system was breached to some extent by hackers, potentially exposing patrons to loss or fraud. The problem reportedly involved part of the system encrypted by an outside source.

Aristocrat promptly ended the trial, and swiftly deactivated all relevant digital wallets “as a further precaution”. The company says no personal information of participants was compromised.

But the incident still raises concerns, particularly in terms of data privacy, as Premier Chris Minns continues his election promise to run a larger trial, involving 500 machines in clubs and pubs across the state.

This was due to begin 1 July, but will not, as the supervisory panel has not yet been selected; an independent panel of experts is to oversee the broader trial.

Minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, defended the delay, stating that Government firmly believes any cashless gaming trial must have robust security and data protection measures in place.

Liquor & Gaming NSW told ClubTIC an investigation into the incident has been launched, led by Cyber Security NSW, working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre and NSW Police.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW is continuing to work with the operators to confirm details of an alleged cyber security incident involving the cashless gaming trial at Wests Newcastle,” provided a spokesperson.

Banktech was contacted for comment, but did not reply in time for publication.

The Wests trial was small, only involving a few dozen people, who were informed of the breach on Thursday. Support is being provided for any concerned trial participants through ID Support NSW.


Tags

cashless gaming, Wests Newcastle leagues club


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