Macau authorities are teaming up with casino operators to prepare for the unthinkable: a terror-style attack on defenseless casino customers.
On Monday, the government of the special administrative region of China issued a statement detailing its ongoing discussions with Macau’s six casino concessionaires regarding ways to enhance security to protect guests and staff.
The casino markets of Manila and Las Vegas were both subjected to deadly attacks by lone wolves this year. In June, the Resorts World Manila casino was targeted by a gunman who started a fire that claimed the lives of 37 guests. Earlier this month, a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, killing 59 music fans.
Following the Vegas attack, Macau authorities summoned the SAR’s casino operators to discuss ways to beef up security in the hopes of avoiding or minimizing the impact of similar attacks. On Monday, Macau officials issued a statement that said the casino operators had agreed to participate in mock drills to test their ability to respond to threats.
The statement was vague on the details of these drills, including whether they would involve attacks on individual casinos or simulate a simultaneous attack on multiple venues. But one of the key planks of the drill will be to test how communications flow between casino operators, police and other emergency responders.
Judiciary Police director Chao Wai Kuong emphasized that the risk of such an attack in Macau was low, but said that was no excuse for complacency. Operators have agreed to install metal directors at most casino entrances, with handheld wands to be used where large-scale fixed installations are impractical.
Casinos have also been urged to hire extra security staff and to educate personnel on how to recognize suspicious individuals before they act. Operators have also been tasked with setting up operational safety groups equipped with unspecified “protective equipment” to help contain situations before the police can arrive.
While the overall threat level may be low, Macau was warned last year that the “nexus of Chinese, American and Jewish interests” in Macau presented a tempting target for Islamic extremists. Later that year, Indonesian authorities disrupted a terror cell that planned to launch rockets at Las Vegas Sands’ Singapore casino Marina Bay Sands.