Safety, security remain top priorities, Las Vegas resort executives say at conference
Circa casino owner Derek Stevens, left, and Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings participate in a panel discussion with gaming executives at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in the Venetian Expo Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022 | 2 a.m.
Despite some high-profile crimes, including a mass stabbing last week, “it’s hard to find a safer location than the Las Vegas Strip,” a casino executive asserted Tuesday at a gaming conference.
“Safety is a societal issue,” Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, said during the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.
“I think when you combine the security presence that exists within these buildings, the Metro Police force here and the surveillance that exists up and down the Strip,” it’s difficult to find a safer place, he said.
Derek Stevens, co-owner of The D, Circa and Golden Gate casinos in downtown Las Vegas, said safety was a top priority for resort operators.
Stevens, who made his comments during a panel discussion at the Venetian Expo, praised Metro Police for working with casino operators to provide a safe environment for visitors.
Not far from where Stevens spoke, eight people were stabbed Thursday along a sidewalk on the north end of the Strip.
Two people died after a man tried to get a picture with a group of showgirls and then started randomly attacking people, police said.
Officers quickly arrested a suspect,Yoni Barrios, who is facing two counts of open murder and six counts of attempted murder, police said.
The violent incident, which happened in broad daylight, made national news.
In July, the sound of a window breaking at a south Strip casino caused a panic among a large number of people, who feared the noise was gunfire, police said.
And on Oct. 1, Las Vegas marked the five-year anniversary of the 2017 shooting at a music festival along the Strip that left 60 people dead and more than 800 injured. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“If you look at some of the crazy things happening in the country, safety is the No. 1 issue in every city and tourist destination in the country,” Stevens said.
At the Fremont Street Experience, the downtown Las Vegas pedestrian mall, security enhancements have been made this year. On weekends, visitors are subject to metal detector screenings and bag checks. There is also a curfew for those under the age of 21.
The additional safety measures were put in place after a string of violent incidents downtown earlier this year.
“Since the time when we went to 21 and over on Fremont Street Experience, safety has changed pretty dramatically,” Stevens said. “We’ve dedicated more resources than we ever have to safety and security in Las Vegas.”
Through the first week of October this year, there were 108 homicides in Las Vegas, according to Metro Police. That’s down 12% from the same period last year.
Aggravated assaults, however, were up nearly 10% during that same year-over-year period.
G2E, which began Monday and wraps Thursday afternoon, is put on each year by the American Gaming Association, an industry trade group based in Washington, D.C.
Before the pandemic, G2E annually drew about 400 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees to Las Vegas. Officials with the AGA did not offer an estimate of attendance for this year’s conference.