ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — One of the world's largest casino companies will check its guests' hotel rooms every 24 hours, even if they have a "Do Not Disturb" sign hanging on the doorknob.
Caesars Entertainment told The Associated Press today it also is considering giving panic buttons to its employees to enable them to quickly summon help if they are in danger or feel threatened. The company will implement the new policy soon at all its properties worldwide, spokeswoman Noel Stevenson said.
The company, which owns 47 casinos in five countries, becomes the latest hospitality firm to adopt new room check policies after a gunman broke windows in his Las Vegas hotel room and rained bullets down on an outdoor concert in October, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds before killing himself.
"In light of recent tragic events and to further strengthen security, we intend to check rooms with 'Do Not Disturb' signs on the door every 24 hours," Stevenson said.
The room checks will be conducted by security guards. The company had proposed having housekeepers do the checks, but changed its mind after opposition from a casino workers' union.
Caesars joins other gambling and hospitality companies who have adopted similar policies requiring guest rooms to be checked periodically, even if a "Do Not Disturb" sign is in use, including Disney, Hilton, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts and Boyd Gaming. The frequency of checks ranges from 12 hours to two days.
MGM, which owns the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas where the mass shooting took place, says it requires a room check after two days if a guest has not interacted in person or over the phone with housekeeping or other hotel staff. The company says it also "reserves the right to enter the room if it is deemed appropriate to conduct a welfare check."
Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union had planned to hold a news conference Friday morning on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to oppose Caesars Entertainment's proposed use of housekeepers to carry out the room checks, but called it off after the company told them it was changing the proposal.
"After pressure from workers, Caesars Entertainment has agreed to rescind the room check policy that would have required housekeepers to enter rooms with 'Do Not Disturb' sign on them," the union said in a statement distributed Thursday night. "Additionally, Caesars has informed us that the company is testing safety buttons with the intention of providing them to all housekeepers in the near future. Caesars will also be increasing the security presence on the guest floors."
Union officials declined to comment Friday, and Caesars officials did not address the union's contention that worker opposition led to a change in the proposal.
The union had been concerned not only about the Mandalay Bay shootings in Las Vegas, but also assaults and injuries among Atlantic City casino workers. Those cases include the sexual assault of a hotel worker at Bally's who was pushed into a room and attacked earlier this month, and a fire at the Tropicana that started when a guest set up an illegal methamphetamine lab in the room. A hotel worker who entered the room after the fire broke out had to be hospitalized.