Writing

I enjoy writing, and I get to do a lot of it.img_6137

Right now, you can find my writing in a few places. I am the gaming & hospitality editor for Vegas Seven magazine, which means that I write the biweekly “Green Felt Journal” column and longer features for them. I have also picked up the professional wrestling beat, and I’m happy exploring the squared circle in Sin City. You can find everything I’ve written for Seven right here. I have been writing for the magazine since its first issue in 2010.

I also contribute to CDC Gaming Reports, writing reviews of more than just gambling books (although there are many of those), and have had opinion pieces published in the Washington Post’s PostEverything section.

If you are curious about my academic publishing pedigree, you can check out my CV. I’ve written my share of peer-reviewed articles, but it honestly isn’t where my passion is. I prefer to write for the bigger audiences of media outlets like…the ones I write for.

I guess I’m decent at writing, but don’t take my word for it: I’ve won multiple Nevada Press Association awards (including the 2015 “Best Local Column” honor for “Green Felt Journal”) and I was named the 2014 Trippies Las Vegas Person of the Year for providing a “deluge for the desiccated.” I’ve been accused of worse.

The past: for seven years, I wrote biweekly opinion columns for the Las Vegas Business Press. I also used to write for Two Way Hard Three. From 2002 to 2010, I wrote articles about Atlantic City history for Casino Connection magazine; an archive of those pieces is here. and if you like them, you might want to pick up the book.

Hey, you might be saying. I’ve read your (free for me) stuff on the web and I’d like more. This is something I can help you with. You see, I have written or edited a grand total of nine books so far. Here they are, with links to the sites/pages that have even more information about them. Browse around, have fun. The books aren’t exactly flying off the shelves, so they’ll still be there.

If you’re the more decisive sort who doesn’t like dithering around, you can head straight to my Amazon store to do the deed.

 


Boardwalk Playground: The Making, Unmaking, & Remaking of Atlantic City. Las Vegas: Winchester Books, 2015.

The Queen of the Coast. The World’s Playground. The Casino Capital of the East. They can only describe Atlantic City, New Jersey. Beloved, maligned, always-hustling since its 1854 founding, the seaside resort has seen it all:  first class hotels, popular amusements on the world famous Boardwalk and its piers, Prohibition, gangsters, speakeasies, conventioneers, celebrities, urban pride, urban decay, a casino revival, a casino collapse—and it hasn’t given up yet. Boardwalk Playground shares a hundred stories of Atlantic City’s high spots and low points of the past century and a half, with an emphasis on the hospitality business that evolved into casino gaming—and is evolving again.

 

 


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00002]Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas. Las Vegas: Winchester Books, 2013.

Jay Sarno built two path-breaking Las Vegas casinos, Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and planned but did not build a third, the Grandissimo, which would have started the mega-resort era a decade before Steve Wynn built The Mirage. As mobsters and accountants battled for the soul of the last American frontier town, Las Vegas had endless possibilities—if you didn’t mind high stakes and stiff odds. Sarno invented the modern Las Vegas casino, but he was part of a dying breed—a back-pocket entrepreneur who’d parlayed a jones for action and a few Teamster loans into a life as a Vegas casino owner. Grandissimo tells his complete story for the first time.

 

 


Roll the Bones: Casino Edition
Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling. Casino Edition. Las Vegas: Winchester Books, 2013

This revised edition updates the original, expanding on its coverage of casinos and Las Vegas. With new chapters on Atlantic City, the 1980s recession and its consequences, and how casinos are faring in the current economic crisis, this book is essential for those who want to understand gambling.

There’s also an in-depth consideration of the role of organized crime in the development of casinos and the rise of online gaming. All that and more is why Jim McManus has called it “even more indispensable than the original.”

 


Roll the Bones
Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling. First Edition. New York: Gotham, 2006

Spanning millennia, this award-winning book tracks the history of gambling from crude knucklebones to Internet poker. Fascinating personalities from gambling’s past and long-forgotten games spring from the pages of Roll the Bones.

If you enjoy gambling, you’ll be astounded by the fascinating story of how it has developed with humanity. Read it and learn why the Washington Post has called it “something remarkable,” why it won a 2006 Trippie Award, and why it’s a must-read for the fan of gambling.

 


Cutting the Wire
Cutting the Wire: Gambling Prohibition and the Internet. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2005
At a time when online gaming is being debated, this is a very important book. It traces the past 200 years of anti-gambling legislation in the United States and examines the influences behind the passage of the Wire Act in 1961. This anti-gambling law is still used to stifle legal Internet gaming in the United States, and figures in current efforts to create a legal framework at the federal level.

With chapters on general American legal gambling history and Internet gaming, it puts the current debate over online gambling into perspective.

 

 


Suburban XanaduSuburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond. New York: Routledge, 2003

Developed from Schwartz’s doctoral dissertation in history, this book looks at the forces that shaped the rise of the commercial casino industry in the United States. Its thesis, that the self-contained nature of casino resorts renders them inherently anti-urban, raises profound questions for the use of casinos as urban redevelopment tools.

This book helps to explain why casinos evolved as they did, becoming the driving force behind the growth of Las Vegas in the late 20th century.

 

 

 

As editor


Tales from the Pit: Casino Table Games Managers in Their Own Words.Tales from the Pit

Dealing in a casino presents challenges and rewards not seen in many workplaces. With hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake every minute, casinos are high-stress workplaces. Managing a casino workforce brings stresses of its own. Drawn from these interviews, Tales from the Pit provides an overview of how the interviewees felt about a variety of topics, ranging from their experiences breaking in as new dealers to their transitions to management and the changes the industry has seen over their careers. The current and former managers speak candidly about the owners, bosses, dealers, and players who made each day challenging.

 

 



Frontiers in Chance: Gaming Research Across the Disciplines. Las Vegas: UNLV Gaming Press, 2013.
Frontiers in Chance

This collection pulls together 17 papers originally published in the series, making them available in one book for the first time. Ranging from the mythologies surrounding notorious gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel to a look at the lessons that the financial crisis (should have) taught Las Vegas casinos to a cross-national examination of how governments spend the money they accrue from gambling proceeds and taxes, this collection draws on several disciplines, including history, sociology, philosophy, public policy, and business.

Taken together, these papers provide a snapshot into the diversity of work currently being conducted in a variety of fields with the common focus of gambling, in its many manifestations.

 

As co-editor


Gambling, Space, and TimePauliina Raento and David G. Schwartz, editors. Gambling, Space, and Time: Shifting Boundaries and Cultures. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2011.

The eight essays in Gambling, Space, and Time use a global and interdisciplinary approach to examine two significant areas of gambling studies that have not been widely explored—the ever-changing boundaries that divide and organize gambling spaces, and the cultures, perceptions, and emotions related to gambling. The contributors represent a variety of disciplines: history, geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and law.