At entrances to the Wynn resort in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon, 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 on the Strip 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 perches — 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?”
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?
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.
MGM Resorts International owns the Mandalay Bay hotel where a shooter opened fire Sunday night on an outdoor concert venue on the Strip operated by the company. MGM canceled all its Las Vegas shows Monday following the mass shooting, which killed almost 60 people and hurt more than 500. The incident surpassed last year’s massacre in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub as the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.
MGM and Wynn Resorts Ltd. declined to comment on their security operations.
So expect to have your bags checked and see heavy security measures for music festivals come May 2018 when Electric Daisy Carnival rolls around Sin City and Life is Beautiful in September.