Activate satellite view in Google Maps and head to the Las Vegas strip, and you’ll see it: a strange smattering of Y-shaped buildings. Mandalay Bay. Monte Carlo. Treasure Island. The Mirage. Their blueprints put gambling at the center of everything, funneling visitors past slot machines and card tables whether they’re en route to a show, their room, a restaurant, or a retail shop. For years, the casino floor was where Vegas resorts made most of their money, and the Y was devilishly good at monetizing it.
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino was the first megacasino to feature the design—a bit of trivia that Mark Waltrip, Westgate Resort’s chief operating officer, relays with a mixture of pride and irony. Y-shaped buildings have their issues, after all. For one thing, gambling isn’t the moneymaker it used to be; revenues from other extravagances—hotels, food, booze, shopping—outstripped gaming in the late ’80s. For another: Y-shaped buildings pose a unique security challenge. “The bulk of your guests are in this highly concentrated area, just lingering,” Waltrip says. Ensuring their safety— and the safety of the resort’s assets—requires more than a few cameras and guards.
That fact has prompted Westgate to be an early adopter of not just architectural features but surveillance tactics. And it’s why, this week, the resort began testing a discreet weapon-sensing device called the Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar. Marketed by Canadian security outfit PatriotOne, the Patscan CMR combines short-range radar with machine learning algorithms to scan individual guests for guns, knives, and bombs in real time—without forcing them to line up and walk through metal detectors. And unlike the giant, whole-body scanners you see in places like airports, Patscan units are small enough to hide inside existing infrastructure, from walls and doorways to turnstiles and elevator banks. Most people will never realize they’re there—and that’s exactly how Westgate wants it.
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