North Korean hackers made off with nearly $41 million worth of cryptocurrencies from an online casino and sports betting site this week — money officials worry will be used to bolster the country’s nuclear weapons program ahead of an expected arms deal with Russia.
The FBI announced on Wednesday it had traced the hack of Stake.com back to North Korea and its state-sponsored Lazarus Group, which has stolen more than $200 million in cryptocurrencies over the past year alone.
In 2022, blockchain analytics company Chainalysis found it had stolen a whopping $3.8 billion from crypto business.
“In recent years, there has been a marked size and scale of cyber-attacks against cryptocurrency-related businesses by North Korea,” blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs reported in June. “This has coincided with an apparent acceleration in the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.”
Even more concerning for US officials is the fact that this latest exploit came just days before North Korea leader Kim Jung-Un’s expected meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the two world leaders are expected to iron out arms deal to help Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
North Korean Leader Kim Jung-Un meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin about an arms deal.AP
Ahead of the expected meeting, North Korean hackers stole nearly $41 million worth of cryptocurrencies from Stake.com .Getty Images
The White House has previously warned that North Korea was shipping artillery shells and rockets to Russia and were set to negotiate for more arms deals. Then just last month, North Korean state media reported that Kim and Putin were exchanging letters in which they pleaded to expand “bilateral cooperation in all fields” and build a “longstanding strategic relationship in conformity with the demand of the new era.”
It is unclear what exactly Kim may offer Putin as the war in Ukraine continues, but analysts say the recent cryptocurrency hacks have given the communist country some funds it could use to build up its weapons cache.
In the most recent hack, Lazarus Group stole $16 million in Ether, as well as stable coins like USDT, USDC and DAI.
That was followed by another $25 million withdrawals of MATIC and BNB tokens.
Stake.com co-founder Edward Craven told it was a “sophisticated breach” that exploited a service the casino uses to authorize crypto transactions.
The company halted deposits and withdrawals following the breach, but reinstated both functions shortly thereafter, and is continuing to operate.
Stake.com co-founder Edward Craven told it was a “sophisticated breach” that exploited a service the casino uses to authorize crypto transactions.Stake.com.
Lazarus Group stole $16 million in Ether, as well as stable coins like USDT, USDC and DAI. That was followed by another $25 million withdrawals of MATIC and BNB tokens.X / @PeckShieldAlert
The FBI is now advising the public to “be vigilant in guarding against transactions directly with, or derived from, those addresses.” Meanwhile, the Biden administration is warning North Korea that it will “pay a price” if it moves forward with a deal to provide arms to Russia.
White House National Security Advisor made the remarks at a press briefing on Tuesday, when asked about reports that Kim and Putin would meet in person. “[This] is not going to reflect well on North Korea, and they will pay a price for this in the international community,” he said.
Tribal rights, ranging from catching a fish for supper to operating casinos that fund education and health care, are under constant assault, Attacks on tribes and tribal sovereignty are coming from all directions, not just on the gaming front,” said David Z. Bean, vice chairman of the Indian Gaming Association.
For example, in Oklahoma, tribes and Gov. Kevin Stitt have clashed over casino revenue and motor-vehicle tags. Maverick Gaming, which owns more than 300 commercial cardrooms in Washington and nearby states, is seeking to overturn the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act as unconstitutionally race-based. In several areas, tribes’ ability to issue fishing and hunting licenses on their land is being contested.
West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. had claimed that the Seminole tribe's sports-betting operations would harm their revenue.
Two Pari-Mutuel companies are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a deal that gives the Seminole Tribe control over sports betting in Florida.
The importance of this case lies not only in Florida's interests, but also in the future of online gaming nationwide. The decisions made in this case will set a precedent for other agreements between states and tribes. There are concerns that this agreement will allow state and federal regulations on gaming on tribal lands to be evaded and will have a significant impact on the online gaming market.
These companies consider this case to be crucial for the future of online gaming in the country. They have asked the Supreme Court to review an appeals court's decision to uphold the agreement. This deal is part of an agreement between the tribe and the state that could generate at least $2.5 billion for Florida over the next five years.
The amendment defined casino gambling as "the types of games typically found in casinos." The state argued that those games did not include sports betting.
This agreement is also being challenged in the Florida Supreme Court. The companies filed their petition in the U.S. Supreme Court less than a month after the Seminoles paid nearly $58 million to the state as the first installment of a revenue-sharing agreement. The lawsuit focuses on the portion of the agreement that gives the Seminoles exclusive control over sports betting throughout Florida, including bets placed through a mobile app or other electronic device.
The case raises the question of whether this agreement violates a state constitutional amendment that requires voter approval for the expansion of gambling. Meanwhile, the companies argue that the agreement allows gambling outside of tribal lands, which is prohibited by federal law.
is critical that the Supreme Court correct the appeals court's decision and carefully examine the legal and constitutional implications of this agreement. The resolution of this case will undoubtedly lay the groundwork for the future of online gaming across the country.
Drake, who said on social media that he "can't bet against the swifties," placed a $1.15 million Super Bowl bet on the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers.
The singer, keeping in mind Taylor Swift's attendance at Chiefs games and relationship with Travis Kelce, shared his wager in an Instagram post on Saturday. He's estimated to get a $2.346 million payout, a gain of $1.196 million, if he wins.
Drake's wager on the online sports betting platform Stake.com, with which he has a partnership, has Chiefs fans wary of the notorious "Drake curse." Drake regularly places bets, and many online believe the artist's losing streak dooms the team or athlete being backed.
Last month, Drake bet $700,000 on Sean Strickland ahead of the middleweight's fight against Dricus du Plessis, Du Plessis took the win.
The artist also made an $850,000 wager on Logan Paul beating Dillon Danis by knockout in October last year, according to a post on his Instagram. While Paul won, there was no knockout. In September of last year, Drake bet $500,000 on Israel Adesanya in a fight against Sean Strickland; Strickland took the title.
The singer is far from alone in placing a bet ahead of the Super Bowl. Nearly 68 million American adults — about 1 in 4 — plan to bet on this year's Super Bowl, according to the gambling industry's national trade association.
The plan was pitched as an alternative to Mets owner Steve Cohen’s proposal to bring a casino and entertainment complex to the lot the city has designated as parkland but has never been used as such.
Despite the difference in resources behind the plan – Cohen’s net worth is estimated to be a little less than $20 billion – the park plan dubbed Phoenix Meadows has caught the eye of State Senator Jessica Ramos, who has the ability to make or break any proposal made for the land.
The park plan was unveiled at a rally and march through Downtown Flushing on Saturday by a coalition of local groups opposed to Cohen’s Metropolitan Park. Phoenix Meadows was designed by a coalition of advocates aligned under the group FED UP – or Flushing for Equitable Development and Urban Planning.
The group opposes the unrelated proposed developments at Citi Field and Willets Point, and want to see the land instead used as public park space.
While Cohen is competing with around a dozen developers for one of three downstate casino licenses expected to be handed out by the state’s Gaming Commission in the next year or two, he’ll also need Ramos to approve of his project if he has any shot of it moving forward.
Because of the land’s designation as parkland, Ramos and her Assembly counterpart, Jeff Aubry, would need to introduce a piece of legislation known as a parkland alienation bill that would specifically allow for Cohen to build his casino.
Though Aubry introduced such a bill last year, Ramos held off. Cohen will likely need Ramos to introduce a parkland alienation bill this year in order to build a casino there.
On Sunday, Feb. 4 at approximately 10:15 pm Saratoga Casino Hotel received a bomb threat resulting in an evacuation of the casino and hotel.
Law enforcement was immediately notified after receiving the threatening phone call and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and Saratoga City Police Departments responded. All guests and team members were evacuated. After an extensive search, including the use of explosive detection K-9s, no explosives were found and the police determined it was safe to return to the building.
The casino opened Monday morning and has resumed normal operating hours of 9 a.m.-5 a.m. daily.
“We take the safety of our guests and team members very seriously,” said Alex Tucker, COO of Saratoga Casino Hotel, in a news release Monday morning.
“We’re thankful for the quick response from our local police departments and the cooperation from our guests and team members.”
The source of the threat is still under investigation.
Sen. Ronald Kouchi has submitted a bill, SB 3376, to the Hawaii Senate to legalize online sports betting and poker. The bill presents a variety of nuances that make it one of the more unique sports betting legislation in the country. A companion bill in the House, HB 2260, calls for a single brick-and-mortar gambling location.
Bill would generate millions for wildfire relief fund
Sports betting bills include rules for how much a state can tax a sports betting operator as well as where that tax revenue will go. In some cases, such as Massachusetts, the money goes toward a variety of state programs. And, in other instances like Mississippi, the state uses the revenue to improve infrastructure such as roads and highways.
In Hawaii, we still don’t know where the tax revenue will go, as the bill doesn’t detail tax structures. However, the bill as it stands requires a profit-sharing structure for the first 14 years of sports betting and poker that would direct millions to the state’s wildfire fund.
Should the bill pass, the state would get a 70% cut of all revenue generated in the first year. That cut would decrease by five percentage points each year, such that, in the 14th and final year, the state would get a 5% cut.
If one Hawaii lawmaker gets his way, Hawaii will be more than just a paradise of pineapples and palm trees: It will be the home of parlays and poker.
That revenue would go a long way in steadying the state’s financial footing after wildfires in Maui destroyed thousands of structures and killed more than 100 people. And, according to insurance ratings agency Moody’s, cost the state between $4 and $6 billion.
Bill proposes single operator structure
Another feature of the Hawaii sports betting bill that makes it different from most pushes for legalization is that it mandates a single-operator model. The state would hire one operator to run sports betting the state.
“Tens of millions of dollars generated from online gambling are being realized by offshore operators illegally serving Hawaii residents, but no benefits are provided to the State,” the bill says.
Should the single-operator bill become law, it will be interesting to see who the state signs an operator contract with. Bigger names like DraftKings and FanDuel may shy away from the Hawaii market because of the revenue sharing required. It’s common industry practice to allow operators just a 30% cut of revenue in year one.
Will the wildfire fund tax and tax revenue be enough to push the bill through?
Hawaii is one of only two states in the country that has no legal gambling whatsoever: no lotteries, casinos, or sportsbooks. Lawmakers have tried to legalize sports betting in Hawaii in the past and failed. But what sets this proposal apart from its predecessors is the millions its revenue-sharing structure could bring to the state’s wildfire fund.
Additionally, the bill argues that Hawaii online gambling is illegal by law but not in practice. Plenty of residents use offshore sites to place bets. The bill reads:
Questions arise about the honesty and fairness of games offered to Hawaii residents, but neither federal nor state laws currently provide consumer protections for Hawaii residents who gamble online.”
The bill argues that the state is missing out on the revenue that offshore sites are amassing.
Here all the proposal document