American Casino & Entertainment Properties Doesn’t Gamble with its Information Security

American Casino & Entertainment Properties, LLC (ACEP), the parent company of the Stratosphere and Arizona Charlie’s Casinos, had two major concerns when it came to protecting its e-mail infrastructure: blocking inbound threats such as spam, viruses and phishing attacks, and securing sensitive outbound e-mail messages. With more than 700 email users throughout the company, ACEP receives approximately 30,000 messages each day, 95 percent of them spam and viruses. This uses valuable server space and can potentially damage the network. Despite the old saying, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” the ACEP IT team knew that with the constant increase in e-mail threats, the company needed a way to secure its messaging system and set internal policy controls — so that what happens in the hotel and casino stays in the hotel and casino.

Robust, best-of-breed anti-virus and anti-spam solution
“We were so fed up with maintaining our previous solutions that we thought it would be beneficial to evaluate something different,” says Mike Essig, Executive Director of Information Technology for ACEP. The company evaluated solutions from McAfee’s Network Security Business Unit (formerly Secure Computing), and Proofpoint. “We found that McAfee was able to provide us with high quality anti-spam and anti-virus capabilities, as well as granular policy and encryption capabilities. Additionally, the sales team that we were working with was always available to help us or work with us on fine-tuning the appliance to fit our needs. Overall, the company’s support is what really solidified our decision to select McAfee as our messaging security provider. The reporting included with the McAfee Email Gateway (formerly IronMail) product is rich and granular; in comparison, our previous solution was very simplistic and provided very little viable information,” explains Essig.

Powered by McAfee’s TrustedSource global threat correlation engine, McAfee Email Gateway provides comprehensive inbound threat protection against spam, viruses, phishing, zombies, and intrusions. This enabled ACEP to secure its messaging network and protect end-users from harmful inbound e-mails, as well as decrease the amount of unwanted messages in their inboxes. McAfee’s award-winning policy engine carefully reviews each message, applying multiple detection techniques to determine whether or not a message contains sensitive or proprietary information according to the organization’s policies. The engine then automatically encrypts e-mail that includes sensitive information and is deemed appropriate for secure delivery. The solution offers multiple encryption options and can automatically determine which encryption technique is appropriate, based on items such as where the message is going. For example, if the recipient’s e-mail server can accept messages via S/MIME, OpenPGP or SSL/TLS, the solution utilizes those standards. If not, the message is routed to a staging server and the recipient is able to retrieve the message from a simple text e-mail that includes a link. With McAfee’s policy engine, ACEP is able to monitor and capture any messages that contain obvious items such as social security numbers or hate mail. Of key importance is the ability to monitor for customer account numbers and player database information. Information concerning employees that is shared with employee verification services is also encrypted before being sent or received.

"Not only does McAfee Email Gateway protect our inbound and outbound messaging, but it is so simple to use—we were able to just plug and play. For us it wasn’t about the cost of the appliances or the money saved, it was about the ease of use and efficiency of the solution. McAfee Email Gateway definitely provides that — and more."

Mike Essig
Executive Director, IT American Casino & Entertainment Properties, LLC

Preventing spam from entering the network
Since the implementation of McAfee Email Gateway, ACEP has identified more than 95% of all inbound messages as spam and viruses, and has successfully prevented the messages from entering the network. Additionally, the administration time required to manage the company’s e-mail security has been drastically reduced from two hours per day to approximately two hours a month.

ACEP also purchased McAfee Email Encryption, Gateway Edition. With the Encryption Appliance, ACEP is able to create a policy whereby employees can force a message to be sent encrypted or unencrypted by writing certain words into the email subject line. Because the gaming industry is a competitive one, ACEP is also able to create a policy that will monitor outbound e-mails and alert the proper departments if an employee is attempting to distribute the casino’s player database or other proprietary information. McAfee Email Encryption is policy-based and designed to protect private employee or casino information, while also enabling emails to flow in and out of the organization automatically and efficiently.

“When we switched to the Exchange platform, we knew that our messaging system would be more vulnerable to spam or virus attacks, so it was crucial that we got something in there to protect us,” says Essig. “With McAfee, not only have we been protected from inbound attacks, but the outbound features allow us to protect our confidential and business-critical data from leaking out to other casinos, or just landing in the wrong hands. It is a great comfort knowing that we are protected on all sides of the email spectrum.”

American Casino & Entertainment Properties

Customer profile

Parent company of US-based hotels and casinos



IT environment

700 email users throughout the company


Protect end-users from spam and viruses; set policies to protect against sensitive data leakage and securely transmit emails containing confidential casino information and player’s list

McAfee solution

McAfee Email Gateway and McAfee Email Encryption, Gateway Edition


  • 95%+ of inbound email traffic is identified as spam or viruses, and is successfully blocked
  • Managers apply policies for outbound messaging and re-route outbound messages as needed
  • Employees safely send encrypted data
  • Dramatically decreases IT administration from 2 hours each day, to less than 2 hours each month