In this week’s Vegas Seven, I consider the bigger impact of the attention focused on problem gambling due to the case of Maureen O’Connor:
The recent revelation that former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor had reportedly embezzled more than $2 million from a charitable foundation to feed her gambling addiction has focused attention on pathological gambling.
via Defining a Dark Allure | Vegas Seven.
I’ve also got a wrap-up of the 2012 Nevada gaming revenue picture, which highlights a few of the big trends.
And if you want to get really creative, try to guess which of the Great Nights Out I anonymously contributed. Fun story.
This is one of the most emotionally-difficult pieces I’ve had to write for Vegas Seven–a look at the career and legacy of my friend and mentor Bill Eadington, who passed away last week:
Within five years of his 1969 arrival at the University of Nevada, Reno as an assistant professor, Eadington had made the case for gaming as the subject of serious academic inquiry. In 1974, he organized the first meeting of what is now the International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking at the Sahara in Las Vegas, threading a narrow path between academics who scoffed at the idea of learning anything from studying how people gamble and casino professionals who mocked the notion of reedy academics passing judgment on their methods.
via A Game-Changing Scholar | Vegas Seven.
I’ve been working on the program for the 15th International Conference this week, and I can definitely say that Bill’s spirit will be with all of us.
This week in Vegas Seven, I also consider the Mob Museum’s first year:
But the Mob Museum—together with the 2012 openings of The Smith Center and the Neon Museum—signaled a new era for Las Vegas’ cultural institutions, and a commitment to Downtown. These institutions have deeper local roots, and it seems more likely that they’ll have staying power.That being said, was the Mob Museum a box-office hit in its first year?
via Mobbing the Mob Museum | Vegas Seven
As you may or may not know, I show up at a few places in the museum–not as a subject, but as someone putting the history into context via video and, this never ceases to amaze me, a slot machine. But I didn’t have much to do with the actual design of the exhibits, so I pretty much was watching from the outside like everyone else.
That being said, I think they’ve done a good job of taking the difficult subject and presenting it well. I got to tour the museum again with Jonathan Ullman last week, and am still impressed–lots of material to read for those who want to, and I think it does a good job of presenting the story, particularly with the Vegas material.
This week in Vegas Seven, my “Seven Questions” interview with Tom Breitling is running:
Tom Breitling’s career started humbly enough: In the early 1990s, he was a sportscaster and weatherman for a TV station … in Barstow. By decade’s end, Breitling had surfed the dot-com boom to a multimillion-dollar payout, which came in 2000 when he and business partner Tim Poster sold their startup Travelscape to Expedia. By January 2004, Breitling had teamed with Poster again, this time buying the Golden Nugget casinos (both Downtown and in Laughlin) from MGM Mirage. A little more than a year later, the partners sold the two properties for a total of more than $330 million.
Now, following a two-year stint working for Steve Wynn, Breitling is ready for his next gamble: As co-founder and chairman of Fertitta Interactive, the 43-year-old is steering the company into cyberspace via its Ultimate Poker division, a real-money website which leverages the Fertitta family’s other Southern Nevada powerhouse, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It’s the latest chapter in a career that’s already seen plenty of action.
via Seven Questions with Tom Breitling | Vegas Seven.
Breitling is always an interesting guy to talk to–I remember we have him on the Vegas Gang a few years back, I think when he was with Wynn.
This week, I’ve got four pieces in Vegas Seven magazine. The first is the Green Felt Journal, where I take a look at whether nightclubs are reaching a saturation point:
If there’s a proven moneymaker on the Las Vegas Strip today, it’s a top-flight nightclub. With tremendous margins on bottle service and measureless lines of customers waiting to get in, clubs have been casinos’ best bet during the recession years. Once a niche amenity, clubs are now everywhere—and few expect the proliferation to slow any time soon.But are we on the verge of overbuilding? Some recent Strip history might be instructive.
via Does Las Vegas Have a Nightclub Bubble? | Vegas Seven.
I’m sure many won’t agree with me, but I think it’s important to point out that the nightclub sector in Vegas can only grow up to a point–and, as with hotel rooms, when we reach that point, there are going to be some losers.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at what lies ahead for Las Vegas in 2013. Seem like the right time:
The New Year has its restorative elements—the celebrations, the resolutions, the fresh hopes. But, against the background of the Great Recession, it’s also another occasion to fret about what lies ahead for Las Vegas casinos.
The Strip in 2013: Recovery and Retrenchment | Vegas Seven
Although at first it might seem like there’s not a lot planned, there’s going to be considerable investment and construction on the Strip and Downtown. I look forward to seeing how things shape up.
Vegas Seven’s nightclub issue is out today! And what better topic for the Green Felt Journal than…casinos without nightclubs:
If you’ve been on the Strip in the past five years, you know that nightclubs are front-and-center at most big resorts. Which begs the question: What’s a Vegas casino look like today when you subtract the nightclubs?
via Nightlifeless | Vegas Seven
When I found out that this was the nightlife issue, I had a dilemma: I don’t really have much to say about nightclubs, but I couldn’t write about something totally unconnected. So I figured this was a fun way to look at the impact of nightclubs on casinos.
I’m hoping for a fun segment on the next Vegas Gang: vibe dining vs. Seafood Shack. I’d really like to have that discussion, because to me you’ve got two extremes: upscale/pretentious vs. homey/tacky. I know which I feel is preferably, but I’d like to hear what the other guys think.
Today’s Green Felt Journal in Vegas Seven is a look back at 2012:
The people who run Las Vegas casinos were expecting a lot in 2012: a return to prosperity on the Strip, a revival downtown and a federal framework for online poker. They didn’t get everything they wanted, but at the end of the year, they’re still in the game, which might be a victory in and of itself.
via The Year of Hope and Holding Steady | Vegas Seven.
A little early, maybe, to start looking back, but because of the end-of-year issue, this is the final Green Felt Journal for 2012. It’s been a great year to write about Las Vegas.
This week, I’ve been honored with another cover story in Vegas Seven magazine. Here, I step a little bit away from the gambling beat and investigate the past and potential future of National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas:
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which comes to the Thomas & Mack Center Dec. 6-15, is like a pair of cowboy boots that have been sitting in the closet for too many months. At first, they pinch a little, but after a while, they seem to flex to fit your feet, and you notice that you kind of like the swagger they lend you.
via Our Rodeo Soul | Vegas Seven.
Very fun piece to write, not the least because I didn’t have to crunch one set of gaming numbers for it. Which is fun in its own way for me, but it’s always nice to have a change of scenery. Great photos from UNLV Special Collections and the Las Vegas News Bureau add quite a bit to the narrative.
Last week’s Green Felt Journal in Vegas Seven took a look at how the repurposing of a nondescript piece of commercial real estate just west of the Strip is full of significance:
The 20,000-square-foot converted warehouse’s history is just as interesting as its future. Before the new tenants started moving in, the building was the design center for the Cosmopolitan. The long, high-ceilinged expanse that is being reconfigured to host a few dozen work stations used to host mock-ups of the Strip’s last mega-resort’s rooms: The very space where customer-service representatives will soon walk online poker players through registration was filled with designers poring over Wraparound Terrace Suites and City Rooms.
via The New Road Starts Here | Vegas Seven.
Interesting to see the transition happening in front of us.