Commercial Facilities Sector: Casinos and Gaming

The Casinos and Gaming sub-sector represents casinos and the associated convention centers, shopping arcades, lodging facilities, nightclubs, theaters, and performing arts centers that make up the entire gaming facility complex. 

The sub-sector’s assets overlap with others in Commercial Facilities sub-sectors. For example, theaters, convention centers, and exhibition halls are part of the Public Assembly sub-sector, hotels are part of the Lodging sub-sector, and shopping arcades are part of the Retail sub-sector. 

In New Jersey, there are seven major casinos under private ownership. They are regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and licensed by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

Threat

Cyber: Moderate
The Casinos and Gaming sub-sector is an attractive target for financially and politically motivated attackers. Since New Jersey legalized online gaming in November 2013, security threats to casinos have expanded beyond internal business networks, where a wealth of information resides, to Internet-facing sites. Cyber threats against this sub-sector include distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, website defacements, point-of-sale (PoS) system compromises, network intrusion, IP spoofing, file corruption, and sensitive data theft and leaks.

In July 2015, a cybercrime group attempted to target four New Jersey online gambling sites with DDoS attacks, followed by emails threatening more powerful attacks if a Bitcoin ransom was not paid. The attacks were mitigated and the casinos refused to pay the ransom; however, the same criminal and other copycat groups went on to successfully attack and/or extort ransom payments from dozens of victims around the world.

Terrorism: Low
The threat to the sub-sector in New Jersey is low and there have been no physical attacks against it in the last decade. However, homegrown violent extremists—individuals who are inspired by foreign terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and al-Qa’ida and its affiliates—continue to carry out attacks on soft targets across the United States. In June 2016, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 inside a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Preparedness

NJOHSP provides resources on potential threats, indicators of terrorist activity, and protective measures for open access entertainment districts.
 
NJOHSP’s Active Shooter Response resources include potential indicators of, and protective measures for, workplace violence.

The US Department of Homeland Security updated the Commercial Facilities Sector-Specific Plan, which is an annex to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The updates include unique sub-sector information, such as proximity of retail facilities in major casino markets, 24/7 operations, and the importance of sophisticated surveillance to increase awareness and build enhanced response and recovery capabilities. 

The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) provides information and resources for the casino industry to increase suspicious activity reporting and share industry news updates.

Intelligence Gaps

  • What terrorist groups are planning attacks against casino and gaming assets in the United States?
  • How are cyber actors threat attempting to defraud or siphon funds directly from online gaming services?
  • What attack vectors are being used to target casinos with an online gaming presence?

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Preparedness Bureau at preparedness@njohsp.gov.