Archive for the writing Category

HRH, HRC thoughts in the LVBP

A while ago, I got a Twitter request for my thoughts on the Hard Rock lawsuit. Here they are, in the digital pages of the Las Vegas Business Press:

There are several issues here. First is whether the “drunken debauchery” that the HRC folks accuse the HRH of allowing to take place somehow diminishes the goodwill that Hard Rock has built up among customers since the first Hard Rock Café opened in 1971.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Hard Rock Caf�© lawsuit reveals great LV paradox.

I never thought I’d write an article that hit on Jim Morisson’s crotch, Jersey Shore and drunken debauchery. I’m showing some range, at the very least.

Football’s local impact in Vegas Seven, and an award

It’s Green Felt Journal time again. This week, I talk about the impact of football on Las Vegas in Vegas Seven:

Even though Las Vegas doesn’t have an NFL team, football is a popular pastime in the city, and one that has a huge economic impact on the area.Yes, there are the Locomotives of the United Football League and the UNLV Rebels, but football’s real impact here isn’t felt on the field or in the stands—it’s in the sports books and bars of the Valley.

via Even with no NFL team, Vegas scores big during football season | Vegas Seven.

I decided to write this after I did a little poking around to check on some of the claims of “economic impact of a new arena” proponents. Even without a team, it’s clear that football generates a lot of economic activity in the area.

This is also as good a time as any to announce that I’m now officially an award-winning columnist. The Nevada Press Association has honored me with second place in the “Best Local Non-staff Column” category. Here’s the description:

2. David G. Schwartz, Vegas Seven
“Schwartz’s column is everything you’d expect a column on the gaming industry not to be — accessible, well-sourced, pertinent and insightful. ‘Real baccarat players like their privacy.’”

I still can’t figure out whether that’s a back-handed complement or not, but I’ll take it.

Congratulations also to Vegas Seven stablemate Michael Green, who beat me out for the top spot in the category.

And fellow gaming writer David McKee took home not one, but two awards for his work for another Las Vegas weekly paper.

You can read about all of the award-winners here.

Lucky 13 for Roll the Bones

Roll the Bones has made another list…’s list of the top 50 gambling books of all time. At #13, it’s near enough the top to be respectable:

In Roll the Bones, David Schwartz has compiled one of the most thorough historical accounts of gambling available. Schwartz manages to include gambling’s development in different areas of the world including Native America, China, Western Europe and the U.S. Events are set out in chronological order, which makes the book very easy to read, and all forms of gambling are covered. Towards the later stages of the book, the author moves to more modern issues and offers some enlightening discussions about gambling’s importance and place in society. Also of note is the thought-provoking musings about the future of gambling and how it might change. All in all, Roll the Bones is strongly recommended to anyone interested in the history of any form of gambling, or even anyone just looking for a good read.

via Top 50 Gambling Books of All Time –

It’s nice to get some recognition…the is the second list like this the book has made in the past few weeks, coming on the heels of Joe Mazur’s “Top Five Gambling Books” list at the Wall Street Journal.

So it’s not just me telling you that if you want to read a good book about gambling history, you should give Roll the Bones a try.

Countdown to the Cosmo in V7

It’s Thursday, so my long-awaited piece on Cosmo, 90 days out, is out in Vegas Seven:

It hasn’t been easy for the Cosmopolitan. When ground was broken in October 2005, it was one of a crop of planned casinos that were going to re-make Las Vegas. The Palazzo, Encore and Aria opened, but Boyd Gaming pulled the plug on Echelon in 2008, and the Fontainebleau’s post-bankruptcy owner, Carl Icahn, has no announced plans to resume construction on the partially built casino.Then there’s the Cosmopolitan. After the project’s original owners defaulted on a Deutsche Bank loan, the bank bought the hotel and decided to finish construction and run the casino itself, via its own management team.

via Countdown to the Cosmo | Vegas Seven.

I’ll give the folks at Cosmo credit for making the best of a bad situation and bringing something new to town. Whether that’s going to be enough to make the casino a success naturally remains to be seen but I think they’ve got as good a shot as anyone.

As I briefly mentioned on Two Way Hard Three, I think their current airport billboard ads leave something to be desired, but the casino seems to be making an effort to establish a real identity for itself in a way that I haven’t seen before. Usually, it’s just, “We’re the newest and the best!” or, “I’m Steve Wynn, and this is my new casino.” You didn’t really need to do much else to guarantee plenty of traffic for the first year or so.

In the current environment, however, it’s a different story. Aria, which was also pitched as the “Vegas for people who don’t currently go to Vegas” hasn’t, as yet, succeeded in drawing large numbers of people who wouldn’t otherwise come to town. Can Cosmo do it, or just be different enough to get a few hundred people a week to take a gamble on a Vegas trip? Or to convince people with deep attachments to (and accumulated points at) other properties to give it a try? It’s certainly possible.

I really look forward to getting a look inside the property and doing a sit-down interview with John Unwin sometime in the next few weeks.

Wire Act article in GLRE

I’ve got a new article in the latest issue of Gaming Law Review and Economics, about the Wire Act:

For a Camelot-era piece of legislation, the Wire Act has a long and unintended shadow. Used haltingly in the 1960s, when the Wire Act failed to deliver the death blow to organized crime, 1970’s Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) became a far better weapon against the mob. Yet starting in the 1990s, the Wire Act enjoyed a second life, when the Justice Department used to it prosecute operators on online betting websites that, headquartered in jurisdictions where such businesses were legal, took bets from American citizens. The legislative history and early applications of the Wire Act, however, suggest that it was intended for much more selective application, and the uses of the Act to penalize those who provide cross-border betting services to Americans, while perhaps faithful to the broad letter of the Act, are a departure from its spirit.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. – Gaming Law Review and Economics – 147:533.

If you don’t have access to the journal online (i.e., you’re logging in from a school that subscribes), you’ll only be able to read the first page. For the whole story, either subscribe or check out my book-length discussion of the Wire Act, Cutting the Wire.

Tots in lots in Vegas Seven

Is it Thursday already? Then I’ve got something for you to read from Vegas Seven. This week, I talk about people leaving their kids in casino parking lots, which has reached crisis proportions in Pennsylvania:

Take, for example, the recent flap in Bensalem, Pa. A whopping seven times this summer, parents or grandparents left minors unattended in cars at the aptly named Parx casino north of Philadelphia. A public outcry ensued, with legislation that would make leaving a child unattended in a car a third-degree felony proposed to provide a disincentive for this behavior

via Making sure the kids are all right | Vegas Seven.

I like the headline.

And everyone who I talked to agreed, it’s a really bad idea to leave your children unattended in a casino parking lot. Or any parking lot, for that matter.

G2E on the move in V7

It’s a busy week, but I still had time for a Vegas Seven column about G2E moving:

Over the course of a week, Las Vegas hosts conventions and trade expos for industries from baking to sheet metal. So it’s not surprising that the world’s premier casino industry trade show, the Global Gaming Expo, is held here each fall. A recently announced change of venue for the convention highlights the important role the meeting plays in the national casino landscape.

via Gaming show finds a new home | Vegas Seven.

It’s a huge show, and I agree that the move will reinvigorate it. For now I’m going to enjoy G2E’s swansong at the LV Convention Center. Look for me to cover this in greater depth as we get there. I’m planning to pick out one, and perhaps two, stories to focus on, which will trade clarity on a single subject for a more comprehensive view. I figure that since the dailies will be doing the big picture stories, I can use my column to zero in on a single subject that might otherwise be neglected.

Look at quarterlies in LVBP

I’ve got another LVBP column up, in which I discuss whether looking at Nevada’s gaming numbers by quarters can yield any insights:

The financial quarter is a handy time measure for evaluating the Nevada gaming industry’s recessionary progress. Three months is long enough to absorb monthly volatilities, but not as long as a year. Looking at how different areas of the state have fared over the past three years may be the best way to forecast what will happen over the next three years.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Strip offers hope for recession-weary Nevada.

No matter which way you slice it, Las Vegas just isn’t looking very good right now. As much as I pooh-poohed analysts who offered sunnier outlooks earlier in the year, they might have been right in the short term, though it’s possible that we’re headed back down.

It’s really hard to use history to handicap the near future, but looking at these quarterly results really demonstrates the magnitude of the recession.

Recession luxe in Vegas Seven

This week’s Green Felt Journal is out–I talk a bit about marketing luxury properties during a recession. From Vegas Seven, as usual:

The laws of supply and demand aren’t sentimental, particularly when it comes to hotel rooms. No matter what kind of rate a suite might have gotten in the past, when there are more beds than bodies to fill them, the room rate will go down. But when running a luxury property, there are concerns beyond just filling rooms tonight: Long-term position of the hotel’s “brand” can make price-cutting a double-edged sword.

via Selling luxury in the Great Recession | Vegas Seven.

It’s been a busy week around here, which explains the fewer blog posts. I wanted to talk a bit about Bill Zender’s bacc protection seminar, which was profiled in the LV Sun. Some positive news is that instead of just doing a blog post about the kids unattended in cars thing, I’m writing a Vegas Seven article about it. I’ve already talked to Jerry Markling with the Gaming Control Board and look forward to talking with a few other people.

I also am working on a few work projects that I might talk about here, time permitting.

Casino Facebook games in Vegas Seven

At last I’m able to update my blog–it’s been a very busy day. I wanted to do a win/slot analysis to address the “fewer slot machines, but they have more games so it’s OK” idea, but that’s going to have to wait. Instead, read about my latest Vegas Seven column, which covers casinos breaking into the social games market:

Casinos in Las Vegas have been marketing through social media for some time now, mostly via Facebook and Twitter. Recently, however, two Las Vegas-based casino companies have taken their investment in social media to another level with Facebook applications.Facebook allows third-party developers to create applications, or apps, that users can access through their Facebook pages. Social games are some of the most popular apps available. Unlike sites that offer play-for-free or play-for-cash, these games require no download and can be played in a standard Web browser. By definition, they allow players to invite friends to join games and compete in friendly competitions.

via Casinos now playing Facebook games | Vegas Seven.

I played both games, and found the casino-builder to definitely require more attention as you play–no replying to emails in another tab while you play it.

This is probably going to be a big growth area, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see casinos big and small partnering with game developers.