Websites of Venetian, Palazzo casinos go down

Websites of Las Vegas Sands casinos go down, including Venetian, Palazzo on Las Vegas Strip

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The websites of casinos owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp. were down on Tuesday.

Patrons got error messages when they tried to visit the home pages of the Venetian casino, famous for its ersatz canals, and the Palazzo casino, which is next door on the Las Vegas Strip. The company's corporate site was also down.

The websites for a Sands casino in Bethlehem, Pa., and its properties in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau were also down.

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese did not immediately have a comment for The Associated Press about whether the company's sites had been hacked. It was unclear whether customer credit-card records had been breached.

The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., posted screenshots of the sites before they were taken down that showed a picture of Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson posing with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a message condemning the use of weapons of mass destruction.

The sites also featured a list of confidential employee information and Social Security numbers, according to the Morning Call.

Adelson, who is known for having a fiery personality, has been outspoken in his support for Israel.

In October, he floated the idea of dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran, saying strength was the only thing the country understands. During a forum at Yeshiva University in New York City, he imagined what might happen if the U.S. began negotiations over the country's nuclear program by launching a strike on the Iranian desert.

"Then you say, 'See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development,' " he said.

Last December, Las Vegas-based casino operator Affinity Gaming announced that its credit-card transactions had been hacked and warned its 300,000 customers to take steps to protect themselves from identity theft.

FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer confirmed that the agency was aware of the problems with the Sands sites, but she declined to say whether the FBI had launched an investigation. Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield said he was not aware of the issue.

Other Las Vegas-based casino companies reported no problems with their sites.

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Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier

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