A major Las Vegas casino has begun screening customers in the wake of Sunday’s massacre.
Two uniformed security guards and a police officer at the Wynn Las Vegas casino were scanning visitors with metal-detecting wands, at random, and checking bags.
It was the first hint of what could be a sea change in the casino and hotel industry, which has historically been loath to do anything that might unnerve customers.
R.J. Cipriani, a professional poker player who’s gambled around the world under the nickname Robin Hood 702, told the Daily News he has been telling top casino executives to increase security ever since 9/11. Until now, it’s fallen on deaf ears.
“They didn’t want to inconvenience their customer base,” he said. “I’d rather go through the inconvenience and be checked, and know that when I sit down to play, I’m safe.”
On Sunday night, Stephen Paddock used rifles he brought into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to slaughter 58 people. Another 527 people were injured — some by gunfire and some in the ensuing chaos. He shot himself dead before cops could get to him.
“I guarantee you that bell hops from the Mandalay carried this guy’s guns up to his room,” Cipriani said. “That’s an abomination of security.”
On Wednesday, Mandalay Bay Resorts also increased its security presence, but was not checking bags or using wands at the entrance.
Plainclothes men prowled the lobby near the entrances brandishing walkie-talkies.
Lamont Brittingham, a recently checked in guest of the hotel, says he had no plans of canceling his stay since it was non-refundable. His last visit to Mandalay Bay was two years ago and it feels safe.
Mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
“I think they got it under control,” Brittingham said Wednesday. “It’s a lot of police everywhere. You’re supposed to feel safe with the police around.”
Brittingham said uniformed security guards are now asking for hotel room keys before allowing access to the guest elevators and the hotel does not seem to be as busy as before.
“Normally there would be a lot people, but I guess with the tragedy, a lot of people went back home or canceled.
As he spoke, a security guard was manning the doors that led towards the Shoppes of Mandalay Bay. Vehicular and foot traffic was stopped from entering the main entrance to Mandalay Bay Resort.
Las Vegas Police Union head Steve Grammas said securing casinos might not be feasible.
“Look at how many entrances there are to these casinos,” he said. “If you can come up with a good way to do it, I’m for it — but I don’t see how.”
Casey Winchell Napolitano, 30, of Calabasas, Calif., whose oldest friend was shot in the chest Sunday, said increased security is a must.
“I think everyone needs to get serious because people are crazy,” she said. “When you go to a hotel you should be screened as if you are going on an airplane — only when you have been screened can you get your room key.”
Resorts World Manila in the Philippines scans cars and checks bags. The Manila casino’s additional security followed an arson attack there which killed 38 people.