9
Jul

Locals Casinos Are Back in Business in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at the resurgence of locals casinos in Las Vegas:

Since the recession, the locals casino market has endured some tough times, but the 2015 numbers so far suggest those tough times might be over. In particular, North Las Vegas and Boulder Strip properties, after several rough years, are showing revenue increases. Is it because value-conscious visitors are venturing off the Strip? Is it a sign of a reinvigorated economy? Possibly a little of both. Whatever the cause, the stronger neighborhood casino market is a positive sign for Southern Nevada’s overall economic health.

Source: Locals Casinos Are Back in Business | Vegas Seven

Since neighborhood casinos were hardest hit by the recession, their comeback could be a positive sign for the local economy.

7
May

The Last Days of the Riviera | Vegas Seven

 I have the cover story in this week’s Vegas Seven. It’s a look at the final days of the Riviera:

But the Riviera, unlike the Fontainebleau, won’t go down in Las Vegas history as a failure. It was, after all, a Strip hotel that kept its doors open for 60 years. And in Las Vegas, that’s about as unlikely a winning streak as you’ll ever see.

The Last Days of the Riviera | Vegas Seven

This was a very difficult story to write. I hope I succeeded in trying to convey what the closing has been like for those who worked there, and why the place really does matter.

11
Mar

Why Congress Should Repeal a Federal Tax on Sports Betting | Vegas Seven

My latest Green Felt Journal talks about the history behind the federal tax on sports betting:

Like so much else in the history of Nevada gaming, the tax is linked to the Kefauver Committee, the early 1950s U.S. Senate body that investigated organized crime throughout America. Chaired by maverick Tennessee Democrat Estes Kefauver, the committee found that organized crime was indeed a national problem—a problem chiefly fueled by income from gambling operations. With state and local authorities unable (or unwilling) to prosecute gambling entrepreneurs to its satisfaction, Congress decided to fix the problem itself.

via Why Congress Should Repeal a Federal Tax on Sports Betting | Vegas Seven.

Always nice to bring some history into the discussion.

7
Feb

Rules of the British Game in Vegas Seven

Last month, I traveled to London to give a series of lectures to students at Cass Business School. While there, I had some thoughts about the differences between gambling in the US and the UK, so I wrote a Green Felt Journal about it for Vegas Seven:

The result is a casino industry that is tiny by American standards. British casinos are far more niche than ones in Las Vegas or other places in the U.S. With a small spread of games, few slot machines and not much to offer outside of gaming, there’s just not much of a reason for a non-gambler to spend much time there. It’s the photographic negative of Strip casinos, which seem to be about everything but gambling these days.

via Rules of the British Game | Vegas Seven.

Lots of interesting differences between the two countries. It shows me that there’s no one way to do things–different groups prefer different kinds of gambling.

And it’s also difficult to generalize from one to the other. About 12% of total UK gaming revenue comes from online/mobile. Does that mean that, once it’s established, US online will be a $12 billion or so a year business? I don’t know, because the gambling patterns are so different.

10
Nov

Laundry and elevensies in Vegas Seven

In addition to the big George Maloof interview, I’ve got two other pieces in this week’s http://www.weeklyseven.com.

The first is my usual Green Felt Journal column, in which I ask the question “How do you clean sheets from 250,000 beds, 365 days a year…and get a fascinating answer from Brady Industries’ Travis Brady:

Keeping Vegas clean is big business. Brady estimates that, after payroll and possibly the power bill, the laundry tab might be a casino’s biggest expense.

Each hotel room generates between 10 and 20 pounds of laundry a day. Once the housekeeper tosses the linens down the laundry chute to the ground floor, linen-filled carts are loaded into trucks that speed off to one of the Valley’s six Brady facilities. Together, these plants process about a million pounds of laundry a day, 365 days a year.

Nights in White Linen | Vegas Seven

I love the title the editor gave the piece. And the photo gives you a sense of the industrial scale of the laundry facility. Not having spent a lot of time in factories, it reminded me most of some out of Willie Wonka. Without anything edible. Or Oompa Loompas. OK, that was a bad analogy, but it’s a very advanced, very large, and very complicated operation.

My third piece for the week is this week’s The Week, about tomorrow’s 11-11-11 exuberance:

This kind of obsession is mostly a post-millennial phenomenon, fit for our information-age tribalism—a world of logos and symbols and magical thinking. Las Vegas’ first 11-11-11, Nov. 11, 1911, passed without any discernible hoopla—no 11-cent horse rental promos from the Las Vegas Livery or $1.11 union suit specials from Will Beckley’s men’s store. Likewise, another date that would seem to have a natural Vegas connection, July 7, 1977, didn’t cause much of a stir. Blame it on the Carter-era malaise.

The Power of Ones | Vegas Seven

So I had a busy week, writing wise. And it’s not over yet.