Casinos Tighten Security To Stop Crime Wave

Security guards watch every person who enters a casino. Because there's so much money on the barge casino, the guards must protect company assets, and make sure gamblers have an enjoyable and a safe visit.

Louie Sessa is one of those gamblers. "I always think that people are looking, drug addicts, they're looking to hit something," the Florida visitor said. "They know we've got money, because we came here to gamble. So I get a little concerned about it."

Based on the crimes at North Mississippi casinos recently, the state gaming commission is also a little concerned. There have been at least 10 casino holdups in Tunica County in the last two months. The crime wave has given casino security guards another reason to re-evaluate their procedures.

"We prefer not to discuss that," said Boomtown Casino's Chett Harrison, "because we don't want to let the cat out of the bag per se."

Harrison said what casinos do to protect their cashiers and their customers is a secret. What isn't a secret is whether coast casinos and coast police are ready to stop any criminal. "I think if you are a smart robber, I don't think you want to hit the casinos here," the marketing executive said. "Because again, there is a lot of metro areas to get through to escape."

And security officers are confident the traffic outside a coast casino will slow down a criminal's get away.

Mississippi Gaming Commission agents have spent the last few weeks working with Tunica County casinos on new security procedures. The ideas include better camera coverage in the parking lot, bars or plexiglass at cashier's windows, and more security near those cages.

Later this summer, the agents will come to South Mississippi and share the new security concepts with coast casino executives.