Chile Casino Shooting Leaves Five Dead, Senator Blames Gaming for Violence
Posted on: August 12, 2019, 12:03h.
Last updated on: August 12, 2019, 12:16h.
A Chile casino shooting near the Santiago capital city has left five dead, and law enforcement in the region say the shooter – or shooters – remain at large.
The attack occurred late last week at an unidentified small gaming venue in Puente Alto. Police say the incident began outside with two men involved in an altercation. One man followed the other inside and began firing erratically, sending patrons fleeing for cover.
Four men and one woman died. Surveillance video shows the gunman enter and begin firing sporadically, as gamblers took cover behind slot machines.
Authorities say at least 70 shots were fired. “We are doing ballistic investigations, especially of the cartridge shells. There are a huge amount, not only inside the premises, but also outside and in the surroundings,” police spokesman Carlos Albornoz told local media.
Lawmaker Blames Casino
The Chilean government approved laws last year to regulate slot machines outside the country’s main commercial casino resort establishments. The bill approved small businesses to incorporate the gaming terminals into their establishments, so long as the devices are used for “fun and recreation.”
Senator Alejandro Navarro says that’s not what’s happening. He says the boutique gaming venues, such as the one attacked last week, are offering machines that don’t accept 100 peso coin wagers ($0.14), but spins that can cost as much as 20,000 bills ($28).
Today we are witnessing this very serious situation of the shooting inside a room, with five dead and 70 shots. So it is clear that these illegal casinos, wherever they are, are dangerous,” Navarro opined to Chilean news service Estrella Conce.
The Guild Association of Operators, Manufacturers, and Importers of Electronic Gaming was quick to fire back at Navarro.
“If they assaulted someone in a bank, should the banks be closed and banned? That is the logic that the senator applies,” guild spokesman Ramon Sepulveda stated.
Casino Massacres, Gun Control
2017 saw the Las Vegas shooting leave 58 dead after a lone gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay on an outdoor country music festival below. It was the deadliest massacre in modern US history. While mass shootings seem more common in the US than other countries, international countries, of course, aren’t immune.
In June, Resorts World Manila in the Philippines reopened its second floor two years after a gunman entered the casino and caused a stampede that led to the deaths of 37 people. The man – later identified as an indebted gambler with a severe gambling problem – set fire to the cushioned slot machine seats and table games with gasoline. Many inside died due to the toxic fumes and inability to escape the property.
Back in the US, lawmakers – predominantly Democrats – are calling for gun control changes and more stringent background checks after shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead. The killings brought the number of dead in American mass shootings to 67 this year alone.
The topic is expected to be a key issue in the 2020 presidential election.