The Strip’s New Monkey Business | Vegas Seven

Here is this week’s Green Felt Journal, on the opening of SLS–and what it means:

The Sahara’s closing on May 16, 2011, was significant in more ways than one: It was not only the demise of one of the Strip’s few remaining classic casinos, but it essentially marked the depth of the Great Recession. So the August 23 rise of SLS Las Vegas from the bones of the Sahara says a great deal about where Las Vegas is heading—and how it will get there.

via The Strip’s New Monkey Business | Vegas Seven.

I’ve got a lot more to say on the subject–hopefully on a future Vegas Gang.

Grandissimo and the author at the Forum Shops

Here I am posing with the book at the Caesars store in the Forum Shops.

The store is directly off the casino exit to the Forum Shops. Walk out of the casino, turn right, and you can’t miss it.

Buy Grandissimo at Caesars Palace

Jay Sarno revolutionized Las Vegas with Caesars Palace, so it’s only fitting that Grandissimo is now on sale there. There is some symbolism in the fact that it went on sale yesterday, August 5, which was the 48th anniversary of Caesars’ wild opening—a day that Grandissimo talks about in great detail.

Right now, you can get the book in two locations. The first is the Caesars store in the Forum Shops, just to the right as you exit the casino.

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Here is a shot of a few books in their natural setting:

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if you’re strolling down the Appian Way, you can pick up a copy at Emperor’s Essentials:

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The book is just inside the front door.

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I’d like to thank Sherell Bartley at Caesars Entertainment retail and the staff of both stores for making the book available.

Grandissimo Audiobook Now Available

For those waiting to buy Grandissimo as an audiobook, you don’t have to wait any longer. Narrated by Eric Martin, the unabridged version of Grandissimo is now available as an 11.5 hour audiobook.

You can listen to a sample and buy it here:

Audible.com

Amazon.com

iTunes

I’d like to thank Eric for helping me realize my dream of offering Grandissimo as an audiobook, and to all of the friends and readers who have given me encouragement. I hope that you enjoy the audiobook.

Happy 48th Birthday, Caesars Palace

Forty-eight years ago today, Caesars Palace opened, and Las Vegas never was the same again. 

August 5, 1966, was the start of the three-day celebration that introduced the world to Jay Sarno’s vision of Las Vegas. Though there were plenty of skeptics, the opening was a smash and the property never looked back.

Here’s Jay Sarno, in a photo taken the night Caesars opened. 

And here’s Nate Jacobson, Jay’s partner and the president of Caesars Palace, with the guest of honor, Jimmy Hoffa.

If you’d like to learn more about that night (and the day that preceded it, here is an excerpt from Grandissimo detailing Jay’s life on August 5, 1966.

And if you like that, you might want to read a copy of the whole book.

Grandissimo Audiobook is coming!

I’ve gotten many questions over the past few months about whether Grandissimo will be available as an audiobook. Earlier, I didn’t have an answer. Now, I can definitively answer “yes.”

I’m working with voiceover maven Eric Martin, You can read more about him (and hear him) on his website. Part of the reason that I agreed to work with Eric is the high quality of his work. He’s done this many times before, and will deliver a high-quality audio version of my words. I think the readers (or, in this case, listeners) deserve nothing less.

I don’t have a firm release date yet, but Eric has finished through chapter 8, so things look good for sometime late in August.

It’s very gratifying to see the support and interest that the book has gotten thus far, and I’m grateful to Eric for his belief that this will make a compelling audiobook.

Stay posted for updates!

For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven

In this weeks’ Green Felt Journal, I consider whether a “slow” rollout of online gaming in the U.S. is such a bad thing:

Beyond the neon of Nevada and Atlantic City, gaming used to be something the nation spoke about in either whispers like that cousin who never made good or screams like that cousin who never made good and was coming to town to spoil your sister’s wedding. Now, though, online gaming is the subject of serious—and generally calm—discussion. Some bemoan its potential negative effects; others lament the meager trickle of revenues to date. Still others offer both, seemingly contradictory, reactions. But the real news is that there hasn’t been much to either complain or crow about: The rollout of online play has been largely uneventful—and that’s a good thing.

via For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven.

The fact that online gaming has been running in the U.S. for over a year–even at a small scale–is, I think, a pretty interesting story.

How the Sidewalk Took Over the Strip | Vegas Seven

This week, I’ve got a cover story in Vegas Seven that traces the development of the precursor of today’s Strip retail boom, Hawaiian Marketplace:

You’re walking south down las Vegas Boulevard, past a nondescript strip mall promising beer, wine and four-for-$9.99 T-shirts when you see it: the carved head of a bronze-helmeted warrior poking serenely out of a landscaped planter, faded 7-Eleven banners flapping in the background. With only scaffolding visible behind it, the warrior looks out of place but not out of place—another artifact beached on the Strip shoreline, divorced from logic and context.

And yet that warrior is there for a reason. He’s a sentinel guarding the approach to a development that, 10 years ago, saw the future of the Strip.

via How the Sidewalk Took Over the Strip | Vegas Seven.

I thought this was a story the deserved writing because (a) it’s been ten years since Hawaiian Marketplace opened and (b) it doesn’t seem to have gotten the recognition that current trends would indicate it deserves.

A Fresh Study Sheds Light on the Habits of the Vegas Visitor | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at how the Vegas visitor is changing–and what that means:

The big question is, Why do people come to Las Vegas in the first place? Naturally, there are many reasons, so GLS Research, which compiles the profile, asks subjects for the primary purpose of their most recent visit. Having heard so much about how the Strip is about “more than gambling” these days, the trend is surprising: 15 percent of respondents said they came here primarily to gamble—more than three times the 4 percent who said that in 2004.

via A Fresh Study Sheds Light on the Habits of the Vegas Visitor | Vegas Seven

The one constant in Las Vegas is that the visitor is always changing. It’s up to the casinos to evolve to fit emerging demographics without alienating the old.

The Languages of Gaming | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I take a look at what the addition of a bilingual game at a North Las Vegas casino means:

The Lucky Club’s move speaks to the growing presence of Spanish-speaking players in and around Las Vegas. And it’s not without precedent. In 2010, Buffalo Bill’s casino in Primm started offering bilingual blackjack, with dealers speaking to players in both English and Spanish. Combined with Spanish-language concerts, the game was an attempt to counter the inroads that California’s tribal casinos have made into the drive-up Southern California market. To all appearances, the move was successful—Buffalo Bill’s Latino offerings continue to draw.

via The Languages of Gaming | Vegas Seven

Simply put, if you have money and want to gamble it, casinos will find a way to accommodate you.