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Is Casino Software Rigged?

You’ve seen the movies: A-list actors slipping away with millions from the vault of a shady casino, the culmination of an elaborate heist that drew upon three generations of tuxedo-clad Hollywood royalty, as well as a pickpocket, a whole mess of con men… and a single guy who handles all the hacking, cracking the evil casino owner’s software in less time than it takes Brad Pitt to finish a snack.

It’s easy to forget about this “Ocean’s Eleven” character — hey, there’s even an acrobat! — but the fact is, Livingston Dell is essential to the whole plot. 

So is this plausible? Or, for that matter, is any movie where hackers make all the slots magically pay out or otherwise beat the house? Or maybe a mob film where they’re robbing the place from the inside?

The reality is not nearly as exciting — but it’s a lot more safe and, frankly, fair. (In real life, anyone can potentially hit the jackpot, whereas most of us lack 10 friends willing to risk everything to take down evil Andy Garcia.) 

And trust us, we know — we’ve worked with some of the biggest names in casino gaming. Based on our deep experience, here’s what we can tell you about casino software security.

First of all, it’s important to note that casino software basically falls into two major categories: the gaming software and the backend software that makes everything else in a casino run, from the point-of-sale system in the cage to the inventory management that keeps track of how many olives are on hand for those dirty martinis. One of the most important back-end systems in a casino (as in any business) is the accounting software.

But can you trust the software in a casino?

In a word, yes. The casino industry is among the most highly regulated industries around, and that extends to the software. A casino’s accounting software — not just its books — must be regularly checked and approved by no less than the federal government, which has assigned the Securities and Exchange Commission to oversee many elements of the gaming industry. The SEC also takes a look at all management systems for a casino’s assets. 

In 2006, the federal government passed a law specifically regulating online gambling, which brought online casino activity under constant federal scrutiny and authority, as well. Whenever a casino that makes over $1 million annually conducts a currency transaction of over $10,000 the Internal Revenue Service gets involved, too. In addition, casinos have to abide by the strict regulations and oversight of yet more federal agencies and state gaming regulators, who often also delve into the company’s finances, operations and so on — which means a casino’s gaming and back-end software is constantly checked by regulators at all levels. 

Even while software intended for a casino is being created, the code is meticulously checked over for any sign of tampering, mischief or vulnerabilities. For example, when Plan A Technologies completes a project for a client in the gaming industry, that software must then be sent to a vetted third-party firm for full quality assurance and, in many cases, full formal certification. That company then pores over the code line by line looking for any signs that anything isn’t on the up and up. 

Once the code has been declared clear and free by the third-party firm, the casino can notify the relevant agencies and begin using the new software. Every step of the way, Plan A Technologies works with regulators from municipality to state to federal, ensuring its casino clients never have to worry about digital security or anything other than squeaky-clean coding.(It’s a bit reminiscent of the end of another Vegas crime movie, “Casino,” which wraps with Ace Rothstein complaining about how much harder it’s become to steal.)

We’ve dealt with this a lot with our casino gaming clients, and it’s a rigorous process — and our software always passes with flying colors. That’s what you get with us at Plan A. We build to spec but with the tangible experience of knowing the zero-tolerance nature of regulations and market-by-market compliance requirements — gaming is in our DNA throughout the whole development journey, not just at the end.

So, no, the behind-the-scenes software that runs a casino isn’t as exciting as Hollywood would like — but when it comes to running an actual business, sometimes boring is better.

If you’re interested in talking to us about your casino gaming software, reach out today! 

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