Betting on the Pope

Gamblers can take any event, no matter how solemn or tragic, and turn it to betting purposes. So it’s really no surprise to learn that some bookies are taking action on who the next pope will be, or that Italians are betting lottery numbers associated with John Paul II.

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The World

A while ago I talked about how the idea of a 10,000 room moon-themed casino hotel on an artificial island was pretty dumb. I think I’ve found something even more grandiose: a 300-island resort off the coast of Dubai.
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Quick notes, 4/4/05

There is a plethora of news today. For example, plans to dramatically expand the UK’s casino industry might have hit an impasse, but that’s no reason for Britons to stop betting on their upcoming elections.

West Virginians, coming down from the amazing run of their men’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament, now have to deal with a report that video poker is hurting charitable giving.

In one of the strangest things I read today, a couple is suing Treasure Island, alleging that four security officers trespassed in their honeymoon suite–as they were consumating the marriage. Specifically, the article says that they stood around watching, and the couple only noticed after one of the officers coughed.

I don’t know anything about the case, but I find it interesting that the local head of the ACLU, while declining to specifcally denounce casino security, referenced the propensity of casino security officers to be poorly trained violators of people’s rights. I know when I was a security officer I was always ready to trample all over people’s rights to cheat, steal, and injure casino guests and employees, so I guess that makes me guilty as well.

Lucky 13th conference

This morning I got an email informing me that the 13th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking is set. It’s going to be held from May 22-26 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. This is the leading academic conference on gambling in the world, and I’m looking forward to being involved.
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April Fool’s for fools

If you’re like me, you’ve got no patience for people who send out emails with fantastically untrue stories on April Fool’s Day, thinking that this is some kind of great joke. Even worse are the alternative newspapers and webloggers who do this crap. I don’t know why, but it’s really stupid.

Then, of course, no one can read anything without wondering whether it’s all a gag or not. So in lieu of a major post today (and, honestly, because I’m a bit pre-occupied with a few other projects), here’s 5 gaming-related stories that are, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely true…although I had my doubts about the first one:

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Rolling along

As my regular readers know, writing Roll the Bones has been taking up most of my time for the past few months. I’ve shared a few of the insights I’ve learned, but for the most part I’ve kept the project under wraps.

Today I reached a significant milestone, so I’m making an announcement: I’m two-thirds done the first draft. I’ve finished my chapters on ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and early modern gambling, gambling in the British empire, 19th century European spa gambling, and Monte Carlo.

What’s left, you might wonder? Only, as Borat might say, the U S and A. In other words, I’ve got three chapters in which to condense the history of gambling in America (including, as things stand now, one whole chapter on Nevada gambling history). Once I finish that, I have the 12th and final chapter–about the international expansion of gambling in the 20th and 21st centuries–and then I am onto my next project.

Check out the Roll the Bones page to learn more about my progress, and how you can help.

Gambling for change

I know that they say politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is still pretty unusual. A liberal Canadian political website whose domain name has expired has become an online casino, so to speak.
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VIP rooms

One of the things that struck me in Macau casinos was the prevalence of private VIP salons. Leased by junket operators, they give a share of profits to the casino but seem to be independently run. At last, there’s something in print that explains the phenomenon.
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Inside Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas is in a media blackout–no one is talking about its details in anticipation of its opening in less than a month. But anyone with a web browser can see thisWynn Las Vegas property map, which might pique your interest.

No disgrace

I just couldn’t pass up this quote. Is xenophobia alive and well in Macau, or is A casino magnate just trying to articulate his vision for his company’s continued dominance?

“We are Chinese and we will not be disgraced. We will not lose to the intruders.”
–Stanley Ho

This was in an interesting story (with an opening historical misstatement) called Macau may trump Vegas (28-03-2005).