Posted on: December 28, 2022, 03:24h. 

Last updated on: December 28, 2022, 04:07h.

A Delaware casino has been closed for nearly 48 hours after the property encountered unspecified technical difficulties.

Harrington Raceway Delaware Casino cybersecurity malware
The Harrington Raceway & Casino floor. The Delaware casino is currently closed because of an undisclosed technological error that disrupted operations. (Image: Press of Atlantic City)

The Harrington Raceway and Casino unexpectedly shuttered on Tuesday with no notice. Arriving guests were turned away, with the casino simply saying it is closed for business because of a technical issue.

Temporarily closed due to technical difficulties. Please check social media or call for updates,” reads a notice on the Harrington Raceway and Casino website.

The property’s social media, however, hasn’t provided much clarity. Calls to the casino went to a voicemail that informed scheduled workers to remain on standby.

The casino did post on Facebook earlier today that Harrington won’t be reopening for business until at least tomorrow, December 29. There’s no word on whether the tech disruption was an intentional act committed by hackers, or simply an unforeseen issue.

Harrington is one of three casinos in Delaware, the other two being Bally’s Dover and Delaware Park. The Harrington Casino is located at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington in the central part of the state, some 20 miles south of the Dover capital.

Some Events Canned, Some Still Planned

With no word on when Harrington might reopen, many are wondering if the casino’s New Year’s Eve festivities will still go on. Harrington is supposed to host its annual New Year’s Eve Dance Party on December 31 beginning at 9:30 p.m. EST.

The New Year’s shindig costs $20 per person, with the ticket covering live entertainment from the Central City Orchestra — a 10-piece ensemble that plays at weddings, corporate parties, and special events. The Harrington gala also includes a midnight champagne toast and party favors throughout the evening.

Harrington’s tech disruption might not cancel New Year’s, but the problem has already hampered the casino’s planned weeklong Year End Sweeps Kiosk Game & Drawing. Harrington has been advertising the $300K promotion that was scheduled to run from December 26 through December 30.

The sweeps were to give rewards players a chance at spinning a wheel each day they visited the casino during the promo period. Prizes were to include free slot play credits ranging from $10 to $500. Certain plays also were to qualify players for the $300K final year-end spin.

Casino Vulnerability

Casinos have become prime targets for online criminals. With the businesses keeping tabs on millions of customers and their spending habits, illicit hackers have for years sought to infiltrate casinos’ private computer networks to steal data.

The FBI Cyber Crime Division last year warned tribal casinos of the heightened risk of their IT systems being targeted by hackers. The threat extends to commercial casinos like Harrington, too.

The Nevada Gaming Commission, which regulates the richest gaming jurisdiction in the world, recently implemented additional cybersecurity regulations that are designed to better protect casino data. Most of the state’s more than 300 licensed gaming facilities must now regularly review their cybersecurity protections and report their findings to the state.

“It is critical that gaming operators take all appropriate steps to secure and protect their information systems,” the Nevada Gaming Control Board said in September when recommending the new cybersecurity protocols to the state Gaming Commission.