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Rod Smith

Security Commission, Gaming Industry to Meet

4 November 2003

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Homeland Security Commission will hold its first meeting Wednesday and address gaming industry concerns about compliance with a new law requiring casinos to file emergency response plans with state and local agencies.

Most Nevada hotel-casinos missed Friday's deadline for filing emergency response plans with the state and police because of ambiguous compliance requirements and concerns about the security of information.

Jerry Bussell, chairman of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission, said his agency's meeting Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Sawyer Building in Las Vegas will address those concerns.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Jose Montoya said that as of Monday afternoon, only about 30 Nevada hotel-casinos had complied with a new homeland security law requiring major resorts to file their plans with the state and police.

Bussell said he understood "it was more than that," and that he was confident in the end all hotel-casinos will comply.

"There is no question in my mind they will comply once they understand -- 100 percent," he said.

Bussell said the commission will explain compliance requirements and address industry concerns about the security of information filed with responsible agencies.

Montoya said Bussell and Capt. Mike McClary, who heads Metro's Homeland Security Bureau, will attend the commission meeting to help explain procedures and discuss precautions to keep proprietary information confidential.

The new law says plans must include the location of emergency equipment and hazardous materials, an evacuation program and a description of internal and external access routes.

But Montoya said the new state law did not specify sanctions for noncompliance, what agency should enforce the new statute, in what format the plans should be filed and whether they could be submitted electronically.

The law was designed to let firefighters, police and other emergency responders know how the properties would react in the event of a terrorist attack or other disaster. The law affects only resorts with more than 200 rooms, which would cover all casinos built in Clark County since 1989.

The Venetian, Aladdin, MGM Mirage and Station Casinos have submitted plans with the state and the Metropolitan Police Department, and all Park Place Entertainment Corp. properties have either submitted plans or will do so shortly, the companies said Monday. Other gaming operators did not disclose the status of their reporting.