Plan to arm Atlantic City casino guards raises concerns

A proposal to arm security guards at Atlantic City casinos is picking up some support, but there are still some concerns.

Trump Entertainment is seeking approval from regulators to allow armed guards after last month’s fatal shooting of a man who was carjacked from a casino parking garage.

Several Atlantic City Council members are in favor of the idea if the guards get proper training.

The executive director of the Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College said allowing the guards to carry weapons could have an unintended impact on Atlantic City visitors.

“That has a potential to create more fear and anxiety and some bad outcomes as much as it has to deter,” said Israel Posner.

Posner also expressed concern about training.

“I know the amount of training that professional law enforcement have and it’s certainly not the same as security guards. I think you’ve got liability issues and professional competency issues as well, and I think it’s a very tricky call whether you want to go that route,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement says arming the guards raises serious legal and policy issues. Those issues will be examined “at all levels and this includes the attorney general’s office and the New Jersey State Police,” said Lisa Spengler.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.