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Las Vegas Casinos Scramble To Tighten Security After Mandalay Bay Shooting

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Along with murdering nearly 60 people, and seriously injuring more than 500 others during a rampage shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, Stephen Paddock will also be remembered as the reason why future patrons must wait in line for 15 minutes before entering any hotel or casino on the Las Vegas strip.

As Bloomberg reports, customers waited nearly ten minutes before entering the Wynn resort in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon as guards scanned visitors with metal-detector wands and inspected their bags, creating a 10-minute wait to get inside. The new security protocol, put in place after Sunday’s mass shooting nearby, is likely to become the norm in Vegas, and possibly beyond.

Casinos and entertainment venues are going to have to take a more holistic approach to security, thinking about rooftops and other potential shooting – considering the possibilities for an attack from all angles, said David Shepherd, a former FBI special agent in counterterrorism who later was the security director for Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Venetian resort.

“We have to start thinking like the Secret Service – start looking at tall buildings,” said Shepherd, who co-authored a book called “Active Shooter.” “How far do we have to take it?”

With the number of tourists visiting Vegas at record highs, casino and hotel executives are understandably nervous that overly restrictive security measures might turn off customers and help transform Vegas into Atlantic City west.

The additional security measures highlight the dilemma facing companies in one of the nation’s top entertainment destinations, with a record 42.9 million visitors last year. How do businesses keep guests safe while not imposing such drastic restrictions that the casinos, clubs and shopping thoroughfares no longer feel fun?

However, metal detectors and door checks will likely become standard operating procedure at most of the city’s hotels and casinos, one executive told Bloomberg.

One executive at another casino operator, who asked not to be identified because security matters are sensitive, said the Wynn’s security check at the door is probably the industry’s future because there’s no other way to screen for people carrying weapons.

Already, some analysts are downgrading their view on the shares of casino operators. Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Rachael Rothman said Tuesday that she had lowered her view on MGM, the owner of Mandalay Bay, believing the attack will force the company to lower its earnings guidance.

MGM will likely face a demand shock, coupled with an increase in marketing, promotion and security costs that heighten the “risk of negative revisions to estimates,” Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Rachael Rothman said in a note to clients Tuesday. She cut her rating on the shares to neutral.

To be sure, other gambling hubs – notably in Asia – have already adopted many of the more-restrictive security measures that are being considered in Vegas. Casinos in the Philippines routinely scan customers’ bags after a shooting at Resorts World Manila back in June, where a gunman killed 38 people (ISIS tried to take credit for that attack, too, but local authorities similarly said they'd found no proof to support that assertion.

The shocking number of casualties in Vegas has also inspired authorities in Macau to warn the area’s casino operators that their properties must continue to enhance security. Casinos in the world’s biggest gambling hub, which are currently near capacity because of the Golden Week holiday, require visitors to enter through a security door.

As Bloomberg pointed out, because the Route 91 Harvest festival was outside, there wasn’t a natural exit to run to, and concertgoers who hit the ground were vulnerable to the attack from above, Shepherd said. In the future, events like the Harvest festival will need to ensure that access to exits are more readily available.

What’s potentially more disturbing, one expert said snipers and metal detectors will likely feature heavily in the future of concert security, as will the intentional separation of crowds to better facilitate evacuations in the event of an attack.

However, as modern weaponry has enabled attackers like suspect Stephen Paddock to mow down crowds of people from distances of more than 1,000 feet, preventing attacks from above presents a difficult new challenge for security experts.

Expect it to have a lasting consequences for the hospitality and entertainment industries. 


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