Nevada Casinos on Alert with State Counter Terrorism Center as Biden Inauguration Approaches

Posted on: January 18, 2021, 03:44h.

Last updated on: January 18, 2021, 04:21h.

Las Vegas casino security officials remain on watch this week, with Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration and residual concerns about potential pro-Donald Trump protests in Nevada and nationwide.

Casino security monitor risks from extremist groups
Casino security monitor risks from extremist groups
Donald Trump supporters shown here assembled in Carson City, Nevada during a rally this past weekend. The protest remained peaceful. Officials nationwide are monitoring for extremist violence following the January 6 breach at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. (Image: Reno Gazette-Journal)

Southern Nevada casinos are staying abreast of any risks via the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center (SNCTC), Tommy J. Burns, a Nevada-based casino security consultant, told Casino.org last year. Gaming property security experts are in regular contact with the SNCTC and plans are developed as needed.

But an industry expert believes it’s unlikely that any extraordinary measures will be required.

The major casinos already have enhanced security against terrorist and other threats and work closely with the Gaming Control Board and the Metropolitan Police to monitor potential threats,” said Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, to Casino.org on Monday. “Unless there is a planned major demonstration in Las Vegas, the security precautions already in place should more than suffice.”

Last year, Metro Capt. Chris Tomaino, who heads-up the CNCTC, said concerns about violence related to the election have been monitored by authorities since May, according to KSNV, a local TV station. “As long as … we don’t have rioting and violence, and damage to people or property, then the police basically stand back and keep an eye on things, and that’s really our role,” Tomaino was quoted by the TV station in October.

Carson City Protests Remain Peaceful

On Sunday, peaceful protests supporting Trump took place in Carson City and at several other state capitals nationwide. Just a small number of protestors showed up at the Carson City event near the state Capitol building.

Some were armed and many held picket signs, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Open carry of firearms is legal in Nevada.

Many motorists also drove by and held pro-Trump signs related to the presidential election results. It was unclear if protestors were affiliated with a specific political movement.

Last week, the Nevada National Guard was called out by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) to protect the state capitol. The move comes following the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol while members of Congress certified November’s election results.

Opposition Under Watch

This past Sunday, Ohio and Michigan were among the states that saw a slightly larger number of protestors at rallies taking place at their state capitols. Some protestors wore attire that is connected with the right-wing Boogaloo movement, USA Today reported.

The Boogaloo movement gained national attention in May after three Las Vegas men were arrested for an alleged plot which planned to throw a Molotov cocktail at police officers assigned to The Strip.

Jason M. Blazakis, director of Middlebury College’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, recently told Casino.org that he was not surprised the arrests took place and the cases are heading to trial. The threat of violence continues this week, he said.

The threats in the lead-up to the inauguration are serious,” Blazakis said. “The events of Jan. 6 have emboldened radical right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and the mishmash of white supremacist groups who oppose President-elect Biden.”

Given the risk, a spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism agreed that government officials must be prepared. The ADL also highlighted risk from the Boogaloo movement.

The ADL spokesman explained the movement believes “that a future civil war is coming to America.” It largely draws its ranks from anti-government extremists and they predict the “boogaloo will break out when the American people rise up against a tyrannical government to reclaim the rights that they believe have been infringed upon,” the spokesman adds.

The movement is seen as anti-government, anti-authority, anti-police, and pro-gun, the ADL explained. “As such, it’s not surprising that the three men arrested were talking about targeting police officers with their Molotov cocktails prior to their arrest,” the ADL spokesman confirmed.

He said in response to the “events of 1/6, some boogalooers in private chats bemoaned that it was not boogalooers who were storming the Capitol.” In October, suspected members of the Battle Born Patriots, a suspected paramilitary group, were seen at a pro-Trump rally in Carson City, California’s CapRadio further reported.

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