Casinos aren’t known for taking security lightly, but last October’s attack that left 58 Las Vegas concert-goers dead and hundreds more wounded has thrust casino security into the spotlight.
After stockpiling weapons over several days, the shooter launched his assault from a hotel suite at Mandalay Bay. He targeted an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip.
In the wake of the tragic event, casino security is under the microscope. Casinos must consider more than the usual array of crimes it deals with, like cheating and petty theft. Now casinos are scrutinizing current security measures and making appropriate changes to thwart future incidents.
Because of the current public sentiment regarding security in general, casinos are also highlighting the measures they have in place. The hope is this effort will put the public’s mind at ease.
Not only do they want to keep their patrons safe, they want them to view the casino as a safe environment.
Security will be tight at MGM Springfield
Not surprisingly, MGM Springfield, slated to open in September, was recently publicizing its security department.
“We will have a safe facility,” Jason Rucker the executive director of security at MGM Springfield told MassLive.com. “There will be good parking, good lighting, (and) it’s just a good place to have a good time.”
President of MGM Springfield Michael Mathis elaborated:
“Safety and security are paramount at MGM Springfield,. I know Jason will build and lead a vigilant team of professionals whose number one goal will be to create and maintain a safe, secure environment for our guests, employees, and neighbors. He’s already on the job, building his team and developing relationships in the local law enforcement community.”
Rucker, a 36-year-old with 14 years of experience working in the security departments of various MGM properties will oversee a security department of 200 at the forthcoming Massachusetts casino. The MGM Springfield security department will also oversee nearby Mass Mutual Center that MGM now manages.
To pull it off, the security team will use a combination of:
- Uniformed and plainclothes security officers
- K-9 patrols
- The latest in surveillance technology
All of these will be used in coordination with state and local law enforcement.
Outside the casino’s walls
MGM is also hopeful its presence can have a positive impact on crime in the city of Springfield.
The number one goal is to make the casino a safe and inviting place to visit, but the security team believes it can make the surrounding neighborhoods safer.
Rucker told Mass Live that the current perception of downtown Springfield is that it’s an unsafe place to visit, particularly at night. According to Rucker, that’s unacceptable. Moreover, it will change on the day the casino opens.
“It’s the newer, safer downtown,” Rucker said.
That is easier said than done.
Springfield is one of Massachusetts least-safe cities. The city has:
- A violent crime rate three-times higher than the state average
- A property crime rate double the state average
- A robbery rate triple the national average.
Security outside the casino and in the surrounding neighborhoods is extremely important, given MGM Springfield’s outdoor public spaces and efforts to connect the casino property to other attractions in the city of Springfield.
In addition to hosting events at the Mass Mutual Center, MGM has floated the idea of a trolley line that would connect the casino to other Springfield landmarks.
As noted in a previous article:
The current proposal would seed a trolley line connect MGM Springfield with other Springfield attractions, such as the five-museum Quadrangle and the Basketball Hall of Fame. The line could also be extended to include a stop at Forest Park, home to one of the most popular holiday light displays in the state.
In order for that to come to fruition, the city will have to be safe first.