United States citizens have now been warned a second time by the US Department of State about traveling risks when visiting casinos and sports betting venues in the country of Mexico. Threats continue to surface for the safety and security of US residents who visit the venues in several areas as organized criminal groups continue to be active in Mexico.
In the warning, it states that US citizens who are murdered in Mexico has risen from 100 in 2014 to 103 in 2015. The Department of State has reported that gun battles take place between rival criminal organizations or between a criminal group and the Mexican authorities with Americans getting caught in the crossfire. These gunfights have taken place in the city streets in broad daylight as well as in other public places including clubs and restaurants.
The gaming industry has been singled out due to the particular safety concerns the US Department of State has found concerning casinos and sports books, including additional gambling venues. Adult entertainment establishments has also been included in the mix. Personnel of the United States government are prohibited specifically from visiting such establishments in the areas of Zacatecas, Durango, Aguascalientes, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Colima, Jalisco and San Luis Potosi.
Back in April of 2015, the State Department had issued an almost identical statement to the one issued this week, which was at the dismay of gaming operators. Mexican Gaming Association President, Miguel Angel Ochoa stated with the announcement last year that the safety of foreigners who visit the casinos of Mexico is guaranteed due to the large number of internal controls and protection measures that have been put in place since the Casino Royale was attack in 2011.
The protective measures include preventing individuals from entering the venues with firearms or sharp objects that can be used as weapons. The main doors are shielded to prevent any bomb that could be thrown or to intimidate the owners with bombs.
Carlos Lozano de la Torre, the Governor of Aguascalientes stated that the renewed travel alert is ‘misplaced’ and the warning for US individuals from visiting the gaming venues could have a negative effect on the Feria Nacional de San Marcos where a license has been granted for a temporary casino through the city for a three week time frame.
Jose Maria Gil de los Santas, the President of the National Chamber of Commerce in Monclova, also rejected the warning by the State Department, stating that there are no betting shops or casinos in Coahuila in the past three years which shows the State Department has a lack of information when they created the report.