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Bellagio Security Worried Over Possible Shootout in Casino

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Dec/16/2010
Bellagio

Many questions have been asked as to how a gun wielding man wearing full motorcycle gear, including a helmet, was able to pull off a $1.5 million heist at the posh Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Tuesday in under 4 minutes. 

Bellagio security explained their decision:  Let him escape or face the very real possibility that the gunman might start shooting randomly throughout the casino.  Of course, they opted for the first choice. 

The gunman ran off with over $1.5 in chips that are believed to be traceable if cashed in at another casino.

"He had a gun. You just don't want that guy to fire that gun," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a former casino security guard.  Schwartz spoke to the Associated Press and asked the question:  "Which is a worse headline? '$1.5 Million Stolen from Casino'? or 'Patrons Killed in Casino Firefight'?"

Police claim to be “following positive leads” but still have no clues as to the identity of the gunman.  They do believe his stash is worthless.

Gordon Absher, spokesman for Bellagio owner MGM Resorts International, declined to tell the Associated Press whether MGM Resorts, parent company of the Bellagio, was among the casino groups that embed radio frequency devices inside casino chips. 

Schwartz also noted that attempts to cash in the $25,000 chips would require identification post-9/11.  The federal currency reporting limit is $10,000. 

Police officer Barbara Morgan explained that the bandit “pulled the gun out, told the patrons to get back, took the chips, put them in a bag on his waist and turned and jogged out the door."

Officer Morgan added: "He's got a gun. He steals the chips and leaves, rather than taking hostages. You have to think tactically.”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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