Old-School Is New Again at the Global Gaming Expo – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider what I found on the G2E expo floor:

It was clear that the big question asked last year at the expo—how to appeal to a new generation of gamblers—has not been fully answered, but we got several tantalizing glimpses of the future.

Old-School Is New Again at the Global Gaming Expo – Vegas Seven

I think there is a desire and need for new kinds of games. Of course slot machines still make billions each year, but past changes in gambling have shown that all that can change. People didn’t stop playing faro or start playing slots overnight. Is “social” or “skill” going to replace slots next year? No. In twenty years? It’s possibly that something will.



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.


Gaming Hall’s Class of ’15 in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I talk about the latest inductees into the Gaming Hall of Fame:

The American Gaming Association recently announced three new inductees entering the Gaming Hall of Fame this fall: bookmaking pioneer Victor Salerno, tribal gaming advocate Lynn Valbuena and longtime industry executive Larry Woolf. Let’s get to know the class of 2015. Read More

Gaming Hall’s Class of ’15 – Vegas Seven

It has been interesting watching the Hall evolve alongside the industry the past few years. I wonder who will be inducted in 2025?


The Revival of Casino History in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at the comeback of history in Downtown Las Vegas:

On the heels of the Las Vegas Club’s closing comes news that a revived interest in casino history is spreading on Fremont Street.

Read More: The Revival of Casino History – Vegas Seven

I like this development–Las Vegas has a wonderful history, and more people appreciating it is a great thing.


Thank you for supporting BOARDWALK PLAYGROUND

After 28 days, my Kickstarter campaign to publish Boardwalk Playground has wrapped up. Thanks to the generosity and support of 58 backers, I raised the funds I needed to cover the production costs of my next book.

What’s next? I have had the book proofread, and have laid out the photos. Right now it is being indexed while I do another round of proofing. If things go according to plan, I will be able to upload a print-ready file within 3 weeks, so that I will be able to meet my October publication date. There should be plenty of books available at VIMFP on October 17.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far. I wish I had the words to express just how much your support means to me right now–it means a lot.


Las Vegas Club’s End Marks a New Beginning – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the last hours and legacy of the just-closed Las Vegas Club, which is likely destined for better things.

It is a name—a generic one, but a name nonetheless—that has been part of Nevada history even before the 1931 relegalization of commercial gaming. In early April of that year, Las Vegas Club, then at 21 and 23 Fremont Street, received a license to offer games of chance from the Las Vegas City Commission. Earlier this month, that gambling hall—located on the opposite side of Fremont since 1949—closed its doors.

Source: Las Vegas Club’s End Marks a New Beginning – Vegas Seven

I’ve heard some very interesting speculation about what might happen at the former Las Vegas Club, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Stevens brothers create.


What the Nation’s Illegal Gambling Problem Means for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, the Green Felt Journal is about the continuing menace of illegal gambling and why it matters to Las Vegas:

With the proliferation of legal casino gaming throughout the country, it’s tempting to think of illegal play as something from a bygone time. But if you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know that illegal gambling is alive, well and far more pernicious—and just as persistent—than the three-card Monte dealers who still pop up on Strip pedestrian overpasses. Read More

Source: What the Nation’s Illegal Gambling Problem Means for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven

I think this is going to continue being a big story for a while to come.


The Long, Hot Summer of ’55 | Vegas Seven


In this week’s Vegas Seven, I have a cover story on the frustrating summer of 1955–a year that has plenty to teach Las Vegas 2015:

Lanza’s no-show aside, opening night at the New Frontier was regarded as a success. One of the Strip’s first resorts had reinvented itself for the Atomic Age, bigger and better. It whet the appetite for what was to come.

Source: The Long, Hot Summer of ’55 | Vegas Seven

This was a story that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Thanks to Matt Jacob and Greg Miller I have.

First, it’s got the story behind the openings (and subsequent struggles) of the New Frontier, Royal Nevada, Riviera, Dunes, and Moulin Rouge. It also talks about lesser-known failures like the Desert Spa.

For today’s readers who are interested in more than “just history,” 1955 has clear parallels to the recession, and the pivot Las Vegas did in the years after 1955–chiefly, moving towards conventions and investing significantly in them–has lessons for today.


How to Keep Las Vegas’ Forward Momentum Rolling – Vegas Seven

In my latest Green Felt Journal, I look at the importance of the new Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee:

Las Vegas may be breaking tourism records—May was the city’s busiest month ever, with more than 3.7 million visitors—but that doesn’t mean it’s time to get complacent. Governor Brian Sandoval must understand this, since he’s assembled a new committee that will spend the next year considering ways to create the infrastructure that will keep tourism—and the local economy—booming into the future. Read More

Source: How to Keep Las Vegas’ Forward Momentum Rolling – Vegas Seven

It’s always nice to look into the historical context for present-day policies.




Kirk Kerkorian, 1917-2015 | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I look back at the legacy of Kirk Kerkorian:

When Kirk Kerkorian died June 15 at the age of 98, Las Vegas didn’t just lose a visionary whose fingerprints are all over the city’s most recognizable chunk of real estate. It lost a man whose accomplishments will almost certainly never again be equaled by a single person.

Kirk Kerkorian, 1917-2015 | Vegas Seven

In addition to everything I wrote about in the column, I’d like to share a personal story. I only spoke with Mr. Kerkorian once, but it was meaningful. This was back in 2008, when I was conducting the research for Grandissimo. I cold-called Mr. Kerkorian’s office and explained that I wanted to speak briefly with him about his memories of Jay Sarno and Caesars Palace–since he was Sarno’s landlord at the start, he had a perspective that no one else did. I explained this to whoever took my call, emphasizing that I wasn’t going to start grilling him about his current investments, but just wanted to talk about Jay.

The next day, I was up in Reno (that semester I was covering a class for Bill Eadington), and when I got back to the office the following and checked my messages, there was not one but three voicemails from Mr. Kerkorian’s office, trying to schedule an interview time.

Naturally I called back right away, and had a 20-minute or so conversation with Mr. Kerkorian, who had some great memories. He was impressed, still, with both Jay’s golf game and his appetite, and credited him with changing the industry.

Mr. Kerkorian didn’t have to take the time to talk with someone writing a book about things that had happened 50 years before, but he did. It speaks, at least to me, to the kind of man he was.