What Homeland Security Can Learn from Casinos

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
January 11, 2019

At first glance, the problems of homeland security and cybersecurity may seem an odd fit for the Center for Gaming Research and the Special Collections and Archives at UNLV’s Lied Library, but in some important ways it actually fits quite well.

As a researcher, I focus on state and local government efforts. One of the perpetual challenges that face these governments is coordinating their efforts with the owners of critical infrastructure — from utilities and transportation systems to large malls and the hotels and arenas. Law enforcement, emergency managers, and others badly want to support the physical security and cybersecurity efforts of these infrastructure operators, but because they are often privately owned, coordination can be complicated. In fact, simply gaining an understanding many of the security needs of these infrastructure operators is hard.

My project grew out of the idea that many physical security approaches that are considered as state-of-the-art today have come out of fields like nuclear security or the protection of precious metals and gemstones. In these fields, small items that don’t need to be routinely accessed are secured behind many layers of physical barriers and alarms.

But such approaches are much less well suited to many modern security problems – like securing malls, hospitals, and schools or universities. In these situations, the goal isn’t to protect small and immensely valuable physical items at the cost of convenience and access, but rather to protect the people and the operations of the facility while still retaining a welcoming and accessible environment. It’s a much harder problem than merely layering ever more steel, concrete, locks, and fences in concentric circles.

Read the full piece at UNLV