On the heels of sports betting’s wildfire legalization, we are close to classifying online gaming an inevitability. With iGaming already legal in seven U.S. states, mobile sports betting in almost 30, and cybercrime on the rise, cybersecurity is more important to the industry than ever.
Enter David Forbes, an industry professional turned regulator who manages the cybersecurity unit and heads up cybersecurity initiatives at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
“The casino gaming industry has received a lot of attention in the area of cybersecurity since the Caesars and MGM corporate breaches,” says Forbes, “which has brought a surge of attention to my specific role.” Aside from analyzing any lessons to be learned from these events, Forbes also has been tasked with revisiting nearly all things cybersecurity related, from reviewing past security practices to implementing new enhancements and best practices for the New Jersey industry. “I look forward to working with the industry’s top information security professionals and other gaming regulators throughout the next year,” he says.
Forbes began his career in IT at Resorts Casino Hotel, where he spent nearly a decade. “I like to encourage team members to take advantage of opportunities to cross-train and gain exposure to things they are not familiar with,” says Forbes, “whether that’s in the form of different technologies, testing practices or general ways of thinking.”
He feels strongly that one of the easiest ways to grow your career is to be marketable to different teams within your organization, as he did at Resorts. “Build a good rapport throughout the organization and become a name that is reliable and trusted,” he says.
Forbes joined NJDGE in 2016 and has spent the majority of his time there working in its Technical Services Bureau, which bears responsibility for the testing of all electronic gaming equipment approved for use in the state (including brick-and-mortar, online gaming and sportsbook products).
According to Lab Director Afshien Lashkari, Forbes has been instrumental in the evaluation and approval of critical brick-and-mortar electronic gaming equipment, was a key member of the team responsible for evaluating the security of internet and sports gaming platforms, and has continuously helped shaped policy and procedures in his areas of expertise. Forbes is a regular contributor to internal discussions about the latest trends and topics facing the gaming industry.
“Cybersecurity continues to see tremendous growth, year after year—in general, but specifically in the gaming industry,” says Forbes. Cyber professionals are becoming some of the most sought-out individuals due to a variety of factors, he says. Laws, regulations and insurance providers are beginning to mandate specific roles and structures be in place to protect the public and investors. “Being early to this surge is an opportunity that individuals may not have years down the line,” he advises.
And to those individuals pursuing that opportunity, Forbes encourages them to “remain compatible” with their management and organization as a whole. “Expecting alignment or agreement on every subject will be rare,” he warns. “Be prepared to handle this professionally; remain open, considerate and respectful to the process and all outcomes, especially those with which you may not completely agree.”