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MGM Resorts International has taken legal action against both the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its chair, Lina M. Khan, in an attempt to stop an investigation into the fallout from a cyberattack that struck the casino operator last year.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington yesterday (15 April), MGM alleged that the FTC is pressing forward with a “wide-reaching” probe despite a number of issues flagged by the company.

These include alleged violations of its rights to a “fair hearing before an impartial tribunal” and equal treatment.

The cyberattack in September 2023 forced MGM Resorts to shut down certain computer systems, disrupting operations such as hotel room access, booking systems, and digital payment options across its Las Vegas venues.

In its complaint, MGM said that the attack cost it “dearly” and that the “aftershock of the cyberattack continues to reverberate months later.” 

Khan’s stay

MGM claimed its “misfortune” that day was compounded by the presence of a powerful public figure at its Las Vegas hotel during the attack. 

According to press reports cited in the filing, FTC chair Khan and an unnamed senior aide were guests at the property and experienced inconveniences due to MGM’s compromised IT systems. 

Allegedly, an MGM employee had to resort to manual credit card processing for Khan’s check-in, asking the FTC chair to write her credit card information on paper.

Khan reportedly asked the employee how MGM was handling data security in the wake of the attack. The employee said he didn’t know.

MGM claimed that this incident triggered a wide-ranging FTC investigation, with some requests seemingly influenced by Khan’s personal encounter.

A bid to block FTC’s reach

The company also argued against the FTC’s justification for the investigation based on FTC regulations, which it deemed irrelevant to MGM’s operations as a non-financial institution.

Moreover, according to MGM, the FTC denied MGM’s request for Khan to recuse herself from the investigation and petitions to modify the investigative demands.

MGM also pointed out that the publicity surrounding the attack, particularly related to Khan’s involvement, has made the company “the target of private litigation.”

The casino giant said it is now the subject of 15 consumer class action lawsuits. 

MGM argued that “the FTC’s investigative authority is not limitless” and should be exercised within specific statutory confines.

As such, MGM seeks court intervention to block Khan’s involvement in enforcing the investigative demands, declare MGM exempt from the FTC regulations cited, and compel the FTC to withdraw its demands.

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