Armed Guards at A.C. Casinos?

It’s a far stretch from current legislation, but soon armed security guards could be making their way to Atlantic City casinos--that’s if the Trump Entertainment group has its way.

The press of Atlantic City is reporting that Trump CEO Bob Griffin made the request to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Right now, the New Jersey Casino Control Act forbids guns anywhere on casino property, unless given special permission from the Casino Control Commission. The only exception is for off-duty police officers who are hired by casinos.

Griffin’s request comes one month after 28-year-old Sunil Rattu was carjacked inside the Taj Mahal parking garage and then murdered. It’s the second time in 16 months someone was carjacked inside the parking facilities. Back in 2010, 47-year-old Martin Caballero was allegedly carjacked and killed there also.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Trump invested millions of dollars in surveillance and security improvements following Caballero’s death. They even paid for an Atlantic City police officer to patrol the garage, but it wasn’t enough to stop Rattu’s death.

DGE—which has taken over most functions formerly handled by the CCC—has not said how long it will take to come up with a decision, but the agency will reportedly release more information later this week.

Although hiring armed security guards is nothing new in places like Las Vegas, bringing them to Atlantic City may be a whole new ball game. Atlantic City Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert told the Press of Atlantic City on Monday that using the guards is just one option officials are considering and they would have to seek legal expertise on the reality of such a program.

While some officials are in support of the proposal, others are already speaking out against it.

"I'm not sure what people are reacting to, but I think ... the most important thing with security is presence of people who look like they have some kind of official capacity. I'd be much more in favor of having a few more people out there walking around," Revel Entertainment Group CEO Kevin DeSanctis told the press of Atlantic City. His almost 3-billion casino is scheduled to open next year.

Instead of armed guards, state Sen. Jim Whelan reportedly said he would prefer increasing visibility or using former or off-duty law-enforcement personnel. This would also prevent having to change current legislation.

Either way, something has to be done. Atlantic City has the highest crime rate of all the top-ranked U.S. gaming markets.

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