US officials are considering whether hotel-Casino operators could be held liable for breaches in security and whether they could face fines, a leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security said.
The memo, which was seen by the Wall Street Journal, is part of an ongoing review of hotel-property security at the US-Mexico border, a step that has been championed by President Donald Trump.
“The department will continue to review the potential impact of security measures on the hospitality industry and other stakeholders in order to provide a more complete picture of how these measures could impact the industry,” the memo said.
The memo was sent to the Office of Management and Budget in February and was sent in response to a request for comments about hotel-business security measures.
According to the memo, hotel-residential establishments may be liable for “any damages resulting from unauthorized access, unauthorized use, loss, or alteration of hotel property, whether or not those damages result from breach of security”.
The hotel-residents are then expected to submit information to the department about how they plan to improve security measures, including whether they are taking appropriate measures to ensure guests have access to their rooms, the memo says.
This is in line with the Trump administration’s approach to the issue of hotel security and will be a significant area of discussion, the department said.
The hotel-owner and developer of the Casinos Atlantic City and Mandalay Bay hotels have been among those who have been under scrutiny over their security measures over the past year, as the hotel industry has been hit by a series of security breaches and incidents.
An independent security audit by the hotel-industry’s trade group, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHA), concluded that some hotels were not properly securing their properties and that they should have done more to better secure their properties.
In the memo to the office of the assistant secretary for homeland security, the DHS secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, said the department would also be examining hotel-related measures to “ensure the security of individuals and businesses”.
“This includes consideration of whether hotel operators are currently in compliance with hotel security standards and what steps the industry may take to make their operations safer,” Nielsen wrote.
She also suggested that the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) be tasked with studying the hotel security measures and issuing recommendations to ensure that the industry was in compliance.
However, the Department said it had not been asked to do any such audit of hotel properties.