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When The Servers Come Crashing Down

By Chuckmonster on Saturday, 23rd August 2008 2:53am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 2


There's a report in the Press of AC today about a computer glitch at Showboat which took down a patch of slot machines for a few hours. Most of the players just cashed out and moved to another machine, although some experienced delays when the ticket printers froze.

What would happen if a glitch such as this happened on an exponential scale in Las Vegas.

Software problems aren't a new thing to Las Vegas, just last year, gaming monolith MGM Mirage's online reservation systems crashed, a story broken by Steve Friess. The bug in question wasn't with MGM Mirage's reservation system, but instead an issue with their server software, Microsoft Windows 2003.

Somewhat relatedly, online video store Netflix' website went down along with many internal systems that manage accounts and the shipping of discs to it's 7 million customers. They offered a 15% discount to all subscribers whose discs were unable to be shipped.

Apple has had enough issues with their new MobileMe online data syncing application to warrant sending numerous apology emails as well as tossing in four months of free service to users.

Having problems booking a room online for a coupla days is one thing, but imagine a full scale virus taking down all or at least some networked operations in hotel. This might not be as serious as being rustled out of bed at 11am while the roof of your hotel is on fire, but if you are unable to... *gulp* use your credit/debit card to extract cash or complete purchases, or the entire slot floor or players club system goes down for three or four days straight... what happens?

If you've come to Las Vegas to gamble, specifically on slots, and you get there to find out that some kind of network catastrophe has taken out all Harrah's or MGM Mirage properties and you can't gamble there, could the hotel be held responsible?

Of course you can always go "next door" (over/under = 1/2 mile away) and gamble there, but that's not really the point. When we travel to XYZ hotel and casino we go there expecting have all the advertised amenities, features and options available to us, a sort of non-verbal assumed contract. If one of the key ones that brought you there isn't operational, i.e. the casino, what exactly are our rights as hotel guests?

I know this is an extremely far fetched scenario, but it's within the realm of possibilities that an outage similar to the one that hit Showboat - only on grander scale - will take place, either by accident or nefarious design.



Comments & Discussion:

I can just imagine a whole bank of slot machines with the BSOD......

That would be horrible if all those Wheel of Fortune slots at Bally's and Paris were to crash.

Oh wait...

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