In Google Maps and head to the Las Vegas strip, and you'll see it: a strange smattering of Y-shaped buildings. For another: Y-shaped buildings pose a unique security challenge.
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino was the first megacasino to feature the design—a bit of trivia that Mark Waltrip, Westgate Resort's chief operating officer, relays with a mixture of pride and irony. For one thing, gambling isn't the moneymaker it used to be; revenues from other extravagances—hotels, food, booze, shopping—outstripped gaming in the late '80s.
For years, the casino floor was where Vegas resorts made most of their money, and the Y was devilishly good at monetizing it.
Their blueprints put gambling at the center of everything, funneling visitors past slot machines and card tables whether they're en route to a show, their room, a restaurant, or a retail shop.
"The bulk of your guests are in this highly concentrated area, just lingering," Waltrip says.
Ensuring their safety— and the safety of the resort's assets—requires more than a few cameras and guards.
That fact has prompted Westgate to be an early adopter of not just architectural features but surveillance tactics.
And it's why, this week, the resort began testing a discreet weapon-sensing device called the Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar.
Marketed by Canadian security outfit Patriot One, the Patscan CMR combines short-range radar with machine learning algorithms to scan individual guests for guns, knives, and bombs in real time—without forcing them to line up and walk through metal detectors.
And unlike the giant, whole-body scanners you see in places like airports, Patscan units are small enough to hide inside existing infrastructure, from walls and doorways to turnstiles and elevator banks. But a system like Patriot One's could be the ideal security solution for a destination like Las Vegas, where resorts find themselves in the unenviable position of ensuring the safety of their guests, while also stoking an ambiance of freedom, excess, and—as the city so famously advertises—unaccountability."People come to Vegas because it's the fun capital of the world.
Most people will never realize they're there—and that's exactly how Westgate wants it. They're there to let loose, rock and roll, and do things they'd never do," Waltrip says.
"If they show up at their resort and they have to line up for metal detectors, or get wanded down, or walk through a gauntlet of security guards carrying rifles and pistols—that's not going make them feel comfortable. That's not to say venues in Vegas don't take safety seriously.