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STATESIDESTATESIDE


Sharon Harris is ready to get back in the saddle…


t was unimaginable that on the very week our global gaming industry converged on Las Vegas for G2E, the unthinkable could happen. As many had already arrived, or were arriving, a madman shattered the Las Vegas allure on October 1.


While 22,000 were enjoying an outdoor concert


at the chic Mandalay Bay, shots peppered the crowd from the 32nd floor. Within minutes, dozens lay dead and hundreds were wounded, some with lifetime injuries.


Wynn called Las Vegas a “target rich” environment in November 2015 and recruited top law enforcement and military


taylon/Adobe Stock I


consultants to formulate a security plan


8 OCTOBER 2017 8 NOVEMBER 2021 With tens of thousands of G2E attendees in town, a


f you fall off a horse or bicycle, how easy is it to climb back on? You can do it, but it will probably seem different for a while and not as comfortable as before your tumble. That’s how I felt last month. After two years, the


Ironically, my


G2E’s visitor counts. Typically, over its 21 years, G2E has enjoyed annual global registrations that rose to 30,000- 35,000 by 2019. Forget 2020’s cancelation…the industry eagerly anticipated this year’s return. Depending on your optimistic or pessimistic


Casino International article in September‘s G2E issue specifically focused on casino crimes. Ex-FBI agent Tom Raftery, one quoted source, warned that many within the gaming industry have not adequately addressed possible onsite terrorism.


Tragically, the


Mandalay Bay learned otherwise and has now hired a


perspective, G2E’s numbers reached or declined to 13,000-plus exhibitors, buyers and international media. I would love to analyze the registration list to determine where these people came from that week. Those from Las Vegas, northern Nevada, neighboring California, Arizona or other states do not impress me as much as those who made a tougher, longer trip from a great distance. While the exhibitor numbers always fluctuate at every


large group probably stayed at the Mandalay Bay. How does one react or prepare for this type of nightmare?


Over time, we have learned this mass shooter, who


G2E in Las Vegas (I did not attend), and the thrice- postponed East Coast Gaming Congress (ECGC) in Atlantic City (I did attend) – could actually take place. There were noticeable, expected differences. Both mandated specific vaccination verification, spacing and exhibit restrictions. First to the numbers. The ECGC totaled more than 400, about 40% less than usual. It usually draws a crowd traveling up and down the East Coast from Florida to New England. International travel limitations certainly impacted


killed himself rather than be caught, methodically planned every detail of the carnage. A rich, heavy gambler, he did not fit any “standard“ profile.


Many question the relative ease in getting such an


show, I think it usually totals in the upper 100s or more than 1,000. This year’s exhibitor count was 233, despite G2E being the largest in-person global gaming event since March 2020. One attendee described G2E as very sports-betting focused, which is not surprising. Whenever a new concept or technology comes on the scene every few years, new “players” enter the exhibitor mix to make their mark. Whether a byproduct of the pandemic or soaring on its


arsenal to his suite. Conditions will certainly change since the bar altering our very behavior keeps shifting. So far, gaming has pretty much escaped these events, which is amazing considering these 24- hour businesses have dozens of open doors and entry points that never close.


own merits, or both, sports betting has truly swept the US. This year’s revenues will certainly benefit the bottom line at almost every operating location nationwide. Most sports betting states are enjoying profitable


results and New Jersey is a shining example. Using up yet another of its nine lives since its 1978 gaming launch, New Jersey has taken in more than $7 billion in sportsbook bets since January. September data reported a staggering $1.1 billion from the Garden State’s nine casinos and three racetracks. These figures made New Jersey the first US state with a sports betting “handle” that exceeded any state or national benchmark for one month. Whether in person at a sports book or by phone, these properties netted more than $82 million after paying out winning bets and overhead expenses. The Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, near Atlantic City, studies the gaming industry. Director Jane Bokunewicz said: “New Jersey reaped the benefit of being an early adopter of sports betting by embracing


Image: Fannyes/Adobe Stock


Stateside I Stateside


Sharon Harris asks what can be learned from recent events in Las Vegas


New York crisis management public relations firm. The lawsuits against them are just beginning to determine possible negligence by security personnel.


It is long overdue for casinos to incorporate


terrorism preparedness into employee training. This killer brought guns into his hotel suite and installed cameras that monitored his room and the hallway. He then used heavy-duty hammers to smash the windows and take aim. Not that guests’ luggage or drawers be searched, but dozens of weapons take up a lot of space.


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