Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2014

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letter to the editor:

MGM arena needs safer exit strategy

I am writing to express my disgust at, and raise awareness of, crowd control procedures at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Beyonce concert on Dec. 6 was the first event I have attended at this venue. It was a matter of some astonishment to me when I realized that, at the show’s end, every member of what must have been a near-capacity crowd of 15,000 was expected to funnel out through only four doors and back into the casino.

For half an hour, a stifling mass of bodies shuffled shoulder-to-shoulder through the corridors of the MGM Grand until we reached the gaming floor, whereupon we met another huge crowd at a rodeo party. To find an exit, people were forced to trip their way through a maze of slot machines or, hilariously, push their way through a dance floor full of cowboys.

Conversations with those around me supported my own observations — namely, that this was a deadly disaster waiting to happen and couldn’t possibly be legal.

I have been to arenas around the world and have never witnessed such a perilous scene. Is this standard procedure at MGM Grand Garden Arena? If so, are the relevant safety authorities aware? Was the blocking of other exits anything other than a cynical and dangerous attempt to force people past the retail and onto the gaming floors?

I realize the industry is in bad shape, but surely even casino managers couldn’t be so stupid and callous. Could they?

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