In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the 150-year history of Nevada and gambling, and wonder what the future will hold:
The original match wasn’t exactly a marriage of convenience, but it wasn’t a forbidden romance, either. When Nevada joined the Union in 1864, it soberly criminalized the gambling that had been rampant—as it was virtually everywhere in the West—during its territorial days.
via Is Nevada Moving Away From Gambling? | Vegas Seven.
I wanted to make the point that Nevada’s relationship with gambling has never been about gambling–it’s usually been about something else, whether it’s Western-style personal liberty or economic development.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I discuss how Las Vegas faces change:
Now let’s broaden that concept and consider how Las Vegas not just the casino industry responds to changes dealt to it externally. For example, earlier this month, gay marriage became legal in Nevada. Almost immediately, the question being asked wasn’t whether Nevada’s wedding industry chapels, and the ancillary businesses that support them would benefit from the landmark ruling, but how much it would benefit—and how quickly casinos would jump in.
via As New Jersey Moves to Legalize Sports Betting, Nevada Stays One Step Ahead | Vegas Seven
A broader legalization of sports gambling would definitely shake things up, but with sports gambling being such a small part of Nevada gaming revenues, I don’t think it would hurt Las Vegas casinos. More familiarity with wagering might even help them.
There were many interesting things at this year’s G2E. In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I discuss a few that stood out to me:
Among the more important topics addressed at the annual Global Gaming Expo, held earlier this month at the Sands Expo Center, focused on an industry in transition. Even as the number of casinos where people can gamble is increasing, the interest of millennials—those born more or less after 1981—may be waning. So those running casinos and those who make the machines that currently fill them have a dilemma: How do they reach out to new customers—without alienating their existing ones?
via Game Changers From the Global Gaming Expo | Vegas Seven
I feel that we’re on the threshold of a major change in what kinds of games are on casino floors. I’m gathering info for the 2015 Table Games Report (which I will preview at Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference next month) and it looks like tables are continuing to gain ground on slots. I think that casinos and manufacturers will start experimenting with different kinds of machines to address that trend.
This week, I offer some thoughts on casino saturation in the Green Felt Journal:
One-third of Atlantic City’s casinos have closed this year. Simultaneously, new casinos are under construction or on the drawing board in surrounding states. So how many casinos are too many? More pressingly, has the industry reached the saturation point?
via For the Gaming Industry, How Much Is Too Much? | Vegas Seven.
The market for what’s existing is gone–now is the time to build for future demand, which is likely going to look very different from what worked in the 1990s.
This week, the 2014 Nevada Press Association awards were announced. I was fortunate to receive two awards From UNLV Special Collections’ blog:
Special Collections is excited to announce that our colleague, David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research, recently received two awards in the Nevada Press Association’s 2014 Better Newspaper contest, thanks to his work in Vegas Seven magazine.
Schwartz was recognized in the categories of Best Local Column for his bi-weekly Green Felt Journal and Best Feature Story for “The Book That Tried to End Vegas,” a look back on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris’s The Green felt Jungle. On the whole, Vegas Seven received 18 NPA awards this year, including a first-place General Excellence honor for urban weekly publications.
via Special Collections | University Libraries
It really is an honor to have my work recognized like this. I’m grateful to everyone at Vegas Seven who has put out such a great, award-winning publication. They really do make it fun.
As an Atlantic City native and an observer of the casino scene, I’ve gotten asked my opinion on what’s happening there. I’m glad to have the chance to write a column that summarizes how I feel. It’s a bit of a history lesson and a cautionary tale:
Atlantic City casinos prospered in those years because they were the only game not just in town, but in the entire eastern half of the country. Within five years of New Jersey voters approving gaming, nine hotel-casinos were in operation, drawing 19 million visitors to the formerly moribund seaside resort, employing 30,000 people, and pulling in more than $1 billion a year.
via What Atlantic City Needs to Learn From Las Vegas | Vegas Seven
I’ll probably do some more writing about Atlantic City–well, that’s as sure a bet as there is–but this is how I feel about it right now.
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.
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.
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.
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.