Federal Group Refuses To Bow Down After WrestPoint Hack

Federal Group says its financial figures are the worst in 20-years following the hacking of WrestPoint Casino and Country Club Casino.

Federal Group revealed the hacking of WrestPoint Casino cost it millions of dollars. The casino operator paid a hefty price following two hacks last year. Refusal to pay the ransom demand resulted in several millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Hackers targeted WrestPoint Casino in Hobart and Country Club Tasmania casino in Launceston last year. The unknown criminals launched the attack on April 3. WrestPoint Casino workers reported seeing messages seeking payment in cryptocurrency to stop the attack.

The masterminds behind the attack commandeered the casino pokies in addition to the hotel’s booking system. This left casino patrons unable to play electronic gaming machines and the hotel reverted to a paper-based booking system, which was far from efficient.

The attack lasted more than a fortnight after Federal Group, the casinos’ owners, refused to bow down to the hackers’ pressure. Loss of business and the repair of the encrypted systems cost several million dollars.

WrestPoint Casino Is Back Up and Running

Both WrestPoint and Country Club are functioning as normal, but Federal Group recorded less than optimal financial figures. Its latest financial report, which is now unavailable on the company website, is the “worst in nearly 20 years.”

However, this may be the Federal Group’s management overreacting. Figures show revenue weighed in at $547 million and profit after taxes at $42 million. Those are hardly figures of a struggling company.

The Federal Group has a monopoly on the gaming machine licences in Tasmania. However, the monopoly is ending in 2023 with the passage of a new bill. From 2023, operators can purchase or lease machines direct from their source instead of going through Federal Group.

However, until then, Federal Group has control of an incredible number of poker machines. It is responsible for 2,305 pokies across 93 venues. WrestPoint and Country Club account for more than 800 of those machines.

Tasmanians Lost $398.84 Million in 2020-21

The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission publishes annual figures showing gambling spent of the state. Tasmania is the smallest Australian state courtesy of its 541,071 population. However, its residents lost almost $400 million last year alone.

Tasmanians lost $85,456,343 in casino, including WrestPoint, and another $155,549,127 in hotels and clubs. Losses from sports wagers tipped the scales at $99,888,933, with an additional $56,948,473 spent on lotteries. Add those sums together and Tasmanian gamblers spent $397,842,877 in the 2020-21 reporting period.

Pokies and other gaming machines make up the bulk of that astronomical figure. Casinos saw $74,658,139 worth of spend, up from $50,800,821. Indeed, last year’s figures are down due to the COVID-19 restrictions. That said, last year’s total is greater than any other recorded period in the past five years.

It is a similar story in hotels and clubs, where Tasmanians lost $117,286,007 compared to the $79,485,431 in the previous year. Only 2016-17 comes close to matching last year’s losses; those weighed in at $109,940,255.

Taxation and Fees Breaks Through Nine Figures

Increased profits for casinos, hotels, and clubs resulted in more taxation for the state. The state pulled in $109,825,260 in tax and licensing revenue. It is easy to see why those in charge of Tasmania’s purse strings are keen on gambling.

Unsurprisingly, pokies tax accounted for the bulk of the total tax. The state reeled in $46,615,029 from gaming machines last year.

Taxation of lotteries is perhaps the biggest surprise. Lottery operators forked out $28,772,541 in 2016-17. However, this figure rose to $43,353,097 in 2020-21, which is the most ever recorded.

Point of consumption tax on sports wagering grew massively, too. Tasmania received $4,711,505 in 2019-20 but this more than tripled to $14,789,007 last year.

The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission issued two fines to Federal Group-owned venues in 2020-21. It fined WrestPoint Casino $16,800 for allowing a gaming machine to play while it was malfunctioning. Country Club Casino received a $9,780 fine for failing to restrict access to cash on the casino premises.