Vegas hotel security hasn’t earned US backing

LAS VEGAS — Sta­diums, corporate buildings and other facilities that draw crowds have strengthened their security since 9/11, and in return, they have earned U.S. protections in the event their efforts fail to prevent a terrorist attack and they are sued. But hotels haven’t received the same safeguards.

Las Vegas’ casino-resorts have long been known to be of interest to terrorists, but the constant flow of people may pose a challenge to earning liability protections under a little-known federal law, an expert said. For the first time, the law is at the center of a legal battle after MGM Re­sorts International invoked it to sue hundreds of victims of the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history to avoid paying out for lawsuits.

The law was enacted in 2002 to urge development and use of anti-terrorism technologies by providing companies a way to limit liability if their federally vetted and approved products or services don’t prevent an attack.

A high-stakes gambler opened fire from the windows of a room at MGM’s Mandalay Bay casino-resort last year, killing 58 people at a concert. The contractor-provided security was federally certified.

Casino operators interested in earning federal approvals would have to show the government that security at their properties only seeks out signs of terrorism, attorney Brian Finch said.

Finch said the Las Vegas mass shooting may lead hotel operators and other companies to consider looking into the protections offered under the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002.