More casino executives from South Mississippi are in Las Vegas this week than any other time of the year for the Global Gaming Expo.
Cathy Beeding, vice president and general counsel of Island View Casino, arrived Sunday in Las Vegas with six colleagues of the Gulfport casino, hours before more than 50 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured during an outdoor concert.
“We are all safe,” Beeding reported Monday, “but this is surreal.”
Also reporting in safe are the teams from Beau Rivage, Boomtown, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Hollywood and Scarlet Pearl casinos and Susan Varnes with Treasure Bay Casino. Executives from Silver Slipper Casino and other casinos were on the plane Monday morning, en-route to G2E, as the conference is known.
It is the biggest casino show of the year in Las Vegas and despite Monday’s first event being delayed, the conference will go on as planned. American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said his organization and partner Reed Exhibitions “are closely monitoring the horrific events that took place in Las Vegas earlier this morning.”
Freeman said in a statement Monday morning, “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 shooter killed himself in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, said in a statement, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of last night’s shooting, their families, and those still fighting for their lives. We are working with law enforcement and will continue to do all we can to help all of those involved.”
The Clarion Ledger is reporting that a Tupelo couple was at the concert during the shooting but left uninjured.
Security will be tighter and it will be a more somber G2E than in years past. Freeman called the casino industry, “a tight-knit community,” and said “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.”