3
Oct

BOARDWALK PLAYGROUND is now available

bp_150The day has arrived: Boardwalk Playground, my latest book, is now available for purchase via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This book started as a series of columns for Casino Connection magazine, and I have edited, updated, and supplemented those original columns to bring the story up to date. Unlike my earlier books, this one isn’t just about gambling or casinos–there are 124 years of non-casino history in Atlantic City that take up most of the book.

You can visit the Boardwalk Playground site to read more about the book, or just head over to Amazon, which will have more info and, hopefully soon, some customer reviews.

The book is also available for Kindle, and will be on other ebook platforms (iBook, Nook, Kobo) in a few months. This time, I’m trying out the Kindle Select program, which requires that the ebook be exclusive to Kindle. Once the Kindle version is well established, I will make it available on other platforms.

I’d like to thank everyone who got the book this far, particularly my Kickstarter backers. Thank you for helping me do what I love.

20
Jul

Hacks Pose Huge Threat to Casinos – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I take a look at how real a possibility a major casino hack might be, and what cybersecurity problems casinos face:

A recent Wendy’s hack exposed the credit card information of many of its customers. Coming on the heels of attacks on data ranging from infidelity dating site Ashley Madison to drug chain CVS to the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management, the Wendy’s breach is a reminder that our sensitive data isn’t as secure as we’d like it to be.  

Read more: Hacks Pose Huge Threat to Casinos – Vegas Seven

This is a potentially huge issue–casinos need to devote the resources to make sure it never becomes an issue.

15
Jul

Leviosa Con Proves Las Vegas Is Both Muggle- and Wizard-Friendly – Vegas Seven

I’m continually impressed by the range of meetings that happen in Las Vegas. Here is my write-up of one that happened last week at Green Valley Ranch:

It might be the wand that chooses the wizard, but it’s the Harry Potter enthusiast that chooses where she wants to share her fandom. Henderson’s Green Valley Ranch Resort was the gathering place July 7-10 for more than 700 enthusiasts of J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed literary series, its stage and film adaptations and the world of fan creations that it has inspired.

Read more: Leviosa Con Proves Las Vegas Is Both Muggle- and Wizard-Friendly – Vegas Seven

Like most of the stuff I do, this was fun to write–the convention was great.

9
Jul

The Artisan Craft Festival Is a Perk for Real People – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at a lower-profile casino perk, and the local group of entrepreneurs that it benefits:

Smaller-time gamblers play for smaller perks: T-shirts, six packs of soda, even meat thermometers. So it’s not surprising to get a Boyd Gaming promotion offering the chance to redeem B Connected players card points at the Artisan Craft Festival. It’s not the kind of perk you’d expect from cinematic Las Vegas, but it’s perfectly in tune with the reality of who actually visits local casinos.

Read more: The Artisan Craft Festival Is a Perk for Real People – Vegas Seven

I wanted to show a little slice of Las Vegas gambling that isn’t always captured or appreciated in the news: what casinos are like for the vast majority of gamblers. I also wanted to show how local groups like the Artisan Craft Festival mesh with casinos. One of the things about Las Vegas that might surprise non-locals is just how important locals casinos are as meeting spaces. For example, the Nevada PTA held their awards ceremony this year at Texas Station. That might seem very unusual to someone from somewhere else, but in Las Vegas it’s just everyday life. Casinos have the space at reasonable rates, so people use it.

28
Jun

The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

I got the opportunity to write a piece about how the NHL’s announcement it is coming to Las Vegas fits in with the history of gambling for the Washington Post. Here is a small sample:

In that atmosphere, professional sports — whose legitimacy has at times been tainted by gambling-related scandals from the infamous 1919 Black Sox to college-basketball point shaving — were right to distance themselves from gambling. It was mostly illegal and, even where it was allowed, was not well-regarded by the rest of the country. With the United States nearly unanimous against gambling, legal or otherwise, this was a no-brainer.

Source: The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

Obviously this is a little different from my usual writing for Vegas Seven–it gave me the chance to address a different audience. My gratitude goes to the editors at the Post, and of course, my editors at Seven who give me the chance to write about such a range of topics.

23
Jun

Caesars’ Room Art Gives Guests Something to Gawk At – Vegas Seven

Reading the VegasTripping review of the new Julius Tower rooms, I was struck by the art. So I wrote my latest Green Felt Journal about it:

Usually, hotel room art at best presents a regional accent; at worst, it says nothing and moves no one. For the creatives at KNA Design, the distinctly Caesars touch was essential.

Read more: Caesars’ Room Art Gives Guests Something to Gawk At – Vegas Seven

This was a lot of fun to write. It’s fascinating to learn how much thought goes into room design.

15
Jun

Money in the Bank & Big E in Vegas Seven

I’ve got two pieces in this week’s Vegas Seven about the upcoming Money in the Bank pay per view at T-Mobile Arena. This first is a look at the event itself:

Oh, Las Vegas, don’t you dare be sour … come to the T-Mobile Arena and feel the power.

For the first time in eight years, the WWE is bringing one of its sports entertainment spectaculars to town when its Money in the Bank pay-per-view headlines the new arena June 19.

Read more: T-Mobile Banking on Big Entertainment With WWE

The second is an interview with the New Day’s Big E:

The New Day’s Big E, who will help defend the trio’s tag team belts in a Fatal 4-Way match, will be a big (pun slightly intended) part of the action. Here he shares his thoughts on the match itself, competing in Las Vegas, what the fans don’t appreciate (yet) and much more, including unicorns and a time machine.

Read more: One on One With WWE Superstar Big E

The WWE media folks were very helpful in connecting me with Big E on a tight deadline, and it was fun to get to write about this.  I’m really looking forward to all of the matches but now I’m particularly excited for the Fatal 4-Way.

9
Jun

How Seasonal Are Gaming and Tourism? – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at seasonality in Las Vegas:

How seasonal are gaming and tourism in Las Vegas? My hometown, Atlantic City, had a well-defined busy season: Memorial Day to just after Labor Day (the Miss America Pageant was created to extend the summer an extra week). Vegas has its fluctuations, too, but they are harder to characterize. 

Read more: How Seasonal Are Gaming and Tourism? – Vegas Seven

This started with me just wondering how seasonal the business is; I know I’d looked at it before but hadn’t bothered the write it down. So now I’ve got some spreadsheets and some graphs that didn’t make it into print. Like so many other things I look at, there is no  easy answer.

26
May

E-sports Start to Take Hold of Casinos’ Imaginations – Vegas Seven

This week’s Green Felt Journal is a night in the life of an esports lounge in a Las Vegas casino. In other words, exactly what I thought I’d be writing about when I went to graduate school. I love that this is a concept that you might not be able to explain if you time traveled back to the 1960s, just like you couldn’t explain a craps pit if you traveled back a little further:

A bunch of millennials playing video games on a Saturday night in Las Vegas. Not too long ago, that might have been a casino operator’s nightmare. But in the last few months and with accelerating velocity, competitive video game playing—e-sports, as it is best known—has become a reality, just steps away from roulette wheels and slot machines. Read more: E-sports Start to Take Hold of Casinos’ Imaginations – Vegas Seven

I think that this is a compelling story for casinos and will continue to be for a long time.

12
May

Betting on Locals – Vegas Seven

From this week’s Green Felt Journal:

Last year, I wrote that locals gaming was on the rebound (“Locals Casinos Are Back in Business,” July 8). At the time, several indicators suggested it was in the midst of a resurgence after several rough years. Its revival has become even more apparent thanks to recent moves by two locals giants. Read more: Betting on Locals – Vegas Seven

Since I wrote that, Red Rock bought the Palms, which answers the question “what next” in the short term. Long term, I would expect to see more expansion from both companies.

29
Apr

LVCVA Visitor Study Reveals Who’s Really Coming to Town – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at the numbers in this year’s LVCVA Visitor Profile Survey:

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently released its 2015 visitor profile study. This report, based on interviews with Vegas visitors, charts the behavioral and demographic shifts in the population of those who come to town. The results for this year raise more questions than they answer. Read more: LVCVA Visitor Study Reveals Who’s Really Coming to Town – Vegas Seven

This is always quite a source of numbers. It is fascinating to see how visitation is shifting.