Cutting the Wire is here (virtually)!

You can’t read it yet, but you can pre-order it from amazon.com at an incredible price: $16.47 for all 296 pages. Of course, if you want to buy the hardcover for $49.95, I’m not going to stop you.

It’s still under construction, but you can check out my very own Cutting the Wire section to learn more about the book.

I’m really amazed that the book is available this inexpensively. Routledge has raised the price of Suburban Xanadu and amazon, for some reason, has raised it even further. I was starting to think that I was going to be totally priced out of the market.

If you order now, you’ll probably get the book in August. For a sneak peak of the chapter titles, check my annotated table of contents. I’ll be posting reviews as I find out about them.

Amazon.com: Books: Cutting the Wire: Gaming Prohibition And the Internet (The Gambling Studies Series)


Solid socio-economic research

I get people asking me all the time for quantative measures of the “social impact” of gambling. I try to convince them that such a thing is hard to measure. But, if you’re unhampered by standards of academic rigor, it’s easy to make wildly inaccurate claims based on second-hand evidence.

Take, for example, this letter to the editor in the Sun-Sentinel:
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Gambling on Love in San Francisco

Interest in gambling is booming, even as many Americans are shunning more artistic endeavors, like the ballet and theater. So why not roll the dice on gambling-themed operas? Sounds like a winner, as the San Francisco Opera has found out.
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Beware the murky residue

I’ve heard some bad metaphors before, but this one takes the cake: a “gambling expert” explains that in the bathtub that is Las Vegas, you can’t see the “dirt ring” left by gambling, but in Pennsylvania you will be able to see it. I wish this was a joke.

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Casino carpet sneakers?

When I first started putting up carpet pictures, I thought that people might find it amusing. Little did I suspect that my galleries could serve up some series creative inspiration.

Go to a sneaker design contest that you can see here:KicksGuide Artist Series. Scroll down to the entry for Ryan Holler and click on the shoe.

When I first saw it, I was pleasantly awestruck. The idea of using carpet designs on footwear just blew me away. The card table and poker chip elements on the sole were equally impressive.

If you’re interested, you can read comments on the designs. It looks like Ryan is getting some real props for his efforts.

I was already having a pretty good morning–I finished up chapter 10 of Roll the Bones last night, and am busy on chapter 11 (the penultimate chapter). So it looks like there is plenty of inspiration to go around.

On the other hand, I’ve just realized that I wrote an entire chapter about the history of casinos in Nevada and didn’t mention the Golden Gate’s introduction of the 99 cent shrimp cocktail as part of it. Well, there’s always the next draft.


Applying oneself

There’s nothing that makes people laugh like armed robbery, particularly if it’s perpetrated by someone who is easily caught. Sometimes, criminals make it particularly easy, like one Las Vegan who started filling out a job application before producing a weapon and announcing a hold-up.
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Returning to the moon…from the Flamingo

Decades after the last humans walked on the moon, people still want to go back. I can’t say I blame them. You might think that those planning lunar colonies would be holed up in labratories in Boston or Northern California, but, for the third weekend in July anyway, you’d be wrong. They’ll be at the Flamingo Las Vegas.
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Carpet watch

Sorry if you’ve been having trouble with the site. Boingboing.net featured the carpet gallery and the ensuing rush of visitors exceeded my bandwidth. Thanks to Rus at VAserv, I’ve got more bandwidth and am back on track.

I’ve gotten so many emails from people interested in this that I’m seriously thinking about doing more work in this area. I predicted months ago when I started this site that my book reviews wouldn’t really be read, and that a few people might find the posts interesting, but not too many. “If I put in pictures of casino carpets, though,” I said, “People will visit the site.” And I was right. So you might see a casino carpet book some day. Maybe it’ll be my next project after Roll the Bones is finished.

While you’re here, please check out the reviews and definitely the stuff about my own writing. According to amazon.com, you need at least a college junior’s education to read Suburban Xanadu, but I think that anyone with a dictionary can do it. BTW, amazon is overcharging you for the book: the actual retail price is $24.95.

And if you’ve got a convention group in the Las Vegas area and want a fun speaker who can talk about the history of casinos, casino operations, or casino carpet, consider hiring me. I’ll even do tours if I have the time.


Eric Monkkonen

Those of you who are familiar with urban history and crime history should know the name of Eric Monkkonen, who was a giant in the field. He was also my dissertation committee chair, and someone without whom I wouldn’t have gotten my degree. he recently passed away, and I think that this obituary sums up his influence, though it only give a hint of what a great mentor he was.
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Bad days for cockfighters

Eastern Tennessee cockfighters received a shock when a recent cocking main was raided by over 100 state and federal police. Cockfighting might not be as popular as it was back in the 18th century, but it is definitely going strong in Eastern Tennessee.
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