A recent wave of violence in Las Vegas is forcing casino operators to tighten security measures at their gambling establishments. Beefed-up police patrols and metal detectors are part of the measures undertaken in response to the street fights, shootings and a stabbing that happened since the casinos re-opened in June.
Screening for Metal Objects
The Cosmopolitan and Encore started screening visitors using metal detecting wands, usually on weekends, as during that time many Southern Californians visit the Strip and the number of visitors surges significantly. Besides screening for metal objects, security officers are also checking handbags, looking for weapons and mainly guns.
Security staff at The Cosmopolitan also asks for a reason for the visit, a hotel or a restaurant table reservation, or whether the reason is to gamble at the casino, and security officers are not letting guests through the entry of the resort if they carry their own drinks.
Wynn Resorts’ Encore also tightened security upon entry of the resort, doing the screening and handbag searches in a visible fashion to use them as an effective deterrent and force people with bad intentions to leave on their own, instead of causing trouble later on.
Increased Police Presence
Police also beefed up measures in response to the seven shootings and one stabbing which took place since mid-July on Las Vegas Boulevard. Visitors can now see more officers patrolling the streets and sidewalks, inside SUVs with lights flashing, as part of Operation Persistent Pressure aimed at curbing the spike in crime.
The recent rise in violence in Las Vegas raised questions regarding the safety of the destination, as most of the incidents were caught on cellphone cameras and posted on social media. Visitors are more and more concerned as the outbreak in violence is threatening the city as much as the virus outbreak.
The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority which is charged with promoting the city, declined to officially comment, yet in a written statement, its President and CEO Steve Hill called 2020 “anything but normal”, praising the efforts of the police aimed at discouraging criminal behavior.
Casinos Close Hotels Midweek
Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, the two largest casino operators on the Strip, did not provide detail as to what type of enhanced security measures they have implemented, besides the fact that they are working more closely with the Metro police.
The casino industry is more worried that mid-week visitation numbers are falling, besides the slump in airline traffic, and forcing operators to close their hotels from Monday till Thursday. While the number of visitors in August 2020 was 57% down compared to August 2019, traffic on Interstate 15 at the California-Nevada state line dropped just 9%, meaning that most of the city guests come from Southern California. As in the past, they come on weekends.