Last night in Las Vegas, the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States occurred. While details are still sketchy, it appears at the time of writing this article, a lone gunman opened fire at a Jason Aldean concert happening on Las Vegas Boulevard from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. Over 50 people have been confirmed dead and over 400 injured in this deadly attack.
A concertgoer who is a friend of the author described the terror as it unfolded. “At first we thought it was fireworks, but the first people hit were about 15 feet from where we were standing. At that moment, everything changed.” She went on to describe the next few minutes of horror. “We just started running, then diving down whenever we heard the shots coming again. It felt like everything was happening in slow motion, and that the bullets would never stop.
“I was sure this was the end,” she continued. “I was running for my life and wasn’t sure where to turn. My friend’s boyfriend is in his second surgery now. My car is at Mandalay Bay, but I never want to go back.”
The Discussion Moving Forward
This tragedy will be discussed for weeks and months to come; there will be questions about the gunman’s mental state, gun control laws in the U.S., and endless debate about how to make sure this never happens again. A larger issue is how to keep people safe at outdoor concert venues, and also how to keep one of the busiest tourist destinations secure moving forward.
The Global Gaming Expo, the world’s largest gaming conference, is taking place in Las Vegas this week. The event attracts over 25,000 attendees annually; many of the world’s top gaming executives are in town for the event, with several likely having been at the concert. Herve Sedky, President of Reed Exhibitions Americas, the presenter of the event, just put out the following statement:
“The American Gaming Association and our Global Gaming Expo (G2E) partner, Reed Exhibitions, are closely monitoring the horrific events that took place in Las Vegas earlier this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were affected, and with the people of Las Vegas and Nevada.
G2E annually welcomes 26,000 visitors and is scheduled to open, as planned, today with the G2E conference program, while exhibitor move-in continues for the show to open tomorrow. The AGA and Reed Exhibitions will be in constant contact with local and national law enforcement and our host, Las Vegas Sands. We will closely monitor the situation and safety remains our priority.
The gaming industry is a tight-knit community, and Las Vegas is the beating heart of our operations. The AGA and Reed Exhibitions will offer our full assistance as the city recovers, and we will strive to honor the victims of this tragic event.”
This is just one of the several conventions happening in the city this week. Las Vegas is one of the convention capitals of the United States; how will the city respond to the events from last night?
If you think about it, casinos are literally sitting targets for acts of terrorism. From the thousands of hotel rooms in each facility to the casinos that people can freely enter and exit from multiple points, and the tens of thousands of people that sit at tables, eat at restaurants and go to shows, it is actually shocking that this hadn’t already happened. It is hard to imagine how to lock down an entire city; after 9/11 the security at hotels on the Strip was elevated to unheard of levels. One can only imagine the effect this type of catastrophe will have on the properties.
It seemed for the longest time that the biggest concern at one of the massive hotel/casino resorts was an armed heist, similar to what you see in the movies. Today that all feels like a blip on the screen; the shocking loss of life and a staggering number of injured has cast a dark shadow on one of the most popular places people visit to escape the reality of today’s world.
Whatever the reasoning for this senseless attack,
Our hearts go out to everyone who was affected by last night’s tragic events outside Mandalay Bay. We will keep our eyes on the situation and will report more back as it comes to light.
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