For decades, the nightclub industry has been out of control--that's why legislators recently gave the Gaming Control Board oversight of the club scene. More than just fines, clubs now risk being shut down. But one man in particular is trying to clean up the nightclub reputation. And it's not who you'd expect.
The heart-pounding scene happens night after night inside the dozens of clubs that make up the Las Vegas nightlife. It's a multi-billion dollar industry and growing. But as the industry exploded, so did the problems.
Kim Shioldan is the Executive Director of Security and risk management for the Hakkasan group. He says for years nightclubs were fronts for money laundering, prostitution, drugs, and more. "But now, the industry has morphed itself into a legitimate business."
Hakkasan's five nightclubs, three dayclubs, and three lounges on the Las Vegas strip make them a multi-million dollar powerhouse of music, entertainment, and booze, which means hundreds or thousands of potentially drunk guests.
On a busy night at Omnia, it could cost you 100 to get in the door. 15,000 to get a booth near the DJ. but that's nothing compared to the money taxpayers were spending every time a nightclub had to call 9-1-1.
Chief Greg Cassell with the Clark County Fire Department says"Engines are $300 an hour to operate. Rescues are $150 an hour. When you tie them up that many hours after midnight, you're talking tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money."
Chief Cassell says Clark County fire crews might run 100 medical calls on a busy night on the strip. Half of those calls are to nightclubs where the person's only problem is intoxication. "When lower acuity calls such as intoxication tie up critical resources, we have to do better."
But Chief Cassell didn't expect Kim Schioldan to agree. Schioldan didn't want to ignore the problems - and didn't want taxpayers on the hook for issues that come up at his clubs. So now, Hakkasan's properties have medics on-site - they foot the bill. And they have uniformed police officers on their busy nights - again, they foot the bill.
Lt. John Pelletier says, "When you see calls reducing, when you see cops spending less time in a club, that means they can spend more time in the community or on the strip making sure it's safer for everyone. That's a win-win all around."
But that's not all. Kim Schioldan also invited other nightclubs to join the conversation. He formed a group called ZONE--Zero Tolerance Organization for Nightclub Entertainment. Nightclubs, police, fire, and the gaming control board meet once a month to talk issues and solutions. The result? Metro and CCFD say call volume has decreased dramatically in the past six months.
Schioldan says, "I feel that the service we are able to provide even though people don't realize it's a service in that moment, it fits into our brand, and being self-contained and not being a nuisance in our community."