Washington, DC – After months of working with the Nevada congressional delegation, the City of Las Vegas and State officials to educate the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the unique security risks Las Vegas faces, the American Gaming Association (AGA) applauded the new ranking as a step in the right direction that will make Las Vegas eligible to receive $3 million in security funding per year through DHS’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), an increase from $1 million last year.
“Today’s announcement marks a step in the right direction in protecting ‘America’s entertainment capital,’ and we’re grateful for the efforts of Nevada’s congressional delegation to educate DHS about the unique risks Las Vegas faces,” said Sara Rayme, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA. “However, we will continue to pursue a higher ranking that befits Las Vegas, the heart of America’s $240 billion gaming industry and a top travel destination that attracts more than 40 million people each year."
Last month, AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman sent a letter to Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller and Reps. Dina Titus, Mark Amodei, Cresent Hardy and Joe Heck emphasizing the importance of educating DHS about why Las Vegas requires further security funding through the program.
In the letter, Freeman also noted the following factors that merit Las Vegas receiving a higher ranking through the UASI formula:
- Las Vegas is a city with a high-threat, high-density urban area. For example, the Las Vegas “Strip” itself is unlike any other city given the more than 35 hotels and other travel destinations that are situated in close proximity. This high-density area presents an increased threat as a potential target for terrorist activity.
- Las Vegas proudly hosts more than 22,000 conventions each year, which together welcome more than 5.1 million visitors alone, according to the Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority (LVCVA).
- A terrorist incident would instantly harm the $53 billion in economic impact, 425,000 jobs, $19 billion in wages and $7 billion in tax revenue that gaming drives in Nevada, as well as the $240 billion in economic activity and 1.7 million U.S. jobs that gaming supports nationally.
Freeman urged the delegation to continue its diligence and leadership to ensure DHS understand the importance of necessary funding for Las Vegas.
As authorized by the “Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended” (Homeland Security Act), the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) provide grant funding to States, territories, urban areas, and local communities to prevent, protect against, respond to, mitigate, and recover from potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.