New Retail Partner: The Neon Museum

If you want to buy Grandissimo in Las Vegas, there is one more place for you to visit. The Neon Museum now has several signed copies of the book for sale. If you haven’t been to the museum before, here’s everything you need to know:

Neon Museum 
770 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101 (directions)

I’m thrilled to be working with the Neon Museum, and very happy that people have one more place to connect with the book in person. 

The American Gaming Association Takes a Smart New Direction | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at the resurgent American Gaming Association and what it means for Las Vegas:

In the past few months, the American Gaming Association has almost completely regenerated itself. Even though the gaming industry’s chief lobbying group has the same name and offices, it has a renewed mission under new President and CEO Geoff Freeman: to promote the overall positive community impact of gaming, urge a streamlined regulatory process and underline the reality that online gaming is not going away.

via The American Gaming Association Takes a Smart New Direction | Vegas Seven.

I think this is one of stories to watch–a changing AGA might lead the industry into directions that none of us foresee.

Grandissimo on Hotel Interactive

The Grandissimo media tour continues, this time as the author spends some time with Glenn Haussman, host of the Hotel Interactive podcast:

David G. Schwartz is not just a PhD but also the Director, Center for Gaming Research, at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, an amazing historian as well as the author of several books including Roll The Bones, which is a history of gambling since the dawn of time and his newest, Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas, the story of Caesars Palace developer Jay Sarno.

Friday, January 10, 2014

To listen to the podcast, follow the above link or go here

Events listing updated for spring

With a busy spring ahead of me, I have updated the events page. Click through for the entire list. I’m excited to be featured in a number of events at Clark County, Henderson, and UNLV libraries, as well as UNLV’s University Forum lecture series. 

And of course, I’m happy to take any chance I get to talk to people about Grandissimo in particular and all the other things I find fascinating about Las Vegas in general. I hope to see you at one or more events this spring!

And if you would like me to speak to your group, please get in touch

The Action, for Resorts, Is on the Street | Vegas Seven

Here is my final Green Felt Journal of 2013. It’s perhaps appropriate that it looks ahead to 2014:

While 2013 was mostly a year of building and transition, Las Vegas should definitively enter the post-recession era in 2014. That won’t mean a return to pre-recession prosperity, but rather a shift in how casinos approach visitors. In fact, it may turn out that the restaurants, retail and entertainment of the Linq will mark the biggest change on the Las Vegas Strip since the county began installing pedestrian overpasses in the 1990s.

via The Action, for Resorts, Is on the Street | Vegas Seven.

As I mention in the column, I think that the ultimate transformation that the inside-out model will bring hasn’t been fully considered, and it may bring some changes that are unexpected.

John L. Smith talks Grandissimo in the LVRJ

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith recently wrote a column discussing several books that would make great stocking stuffers. Grandissimo was prominent on that list:

In a casino industry bursting with praise for its current ringmasters, Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson, Gary Loveman, and Jim Murren among them, it’s possible to forget that it was Sarno who dreamed biggest of all at a time the gambling racket wasn’t exactly for the weak-kneed….Thanks to Schwartz’s efforts, the grand casino ringmaster Jay Sarno will long be remembered.

Tales about Las Vegas make good stocking stuffers

Click through to read the entire list—there are some good ones on it!

Rockhouse, PBR Rock Bar Owner Just a Local Kid on the Strip | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at one of the entrepreneurs who is shaking things up on the Strip:

Jonathan Fine is a case in point. Fine—who operates some of the Strip’s hottest midmarket nightspots—comes from one of the most illustrious families in Las Vegas: His grandfather, Hank Greenspun, founder of the Las Vegas Sun, was one of the community’s pre-eminent leaders. His father, developer Mark Fine, was instrumental in the growth of Green Valley and Summerlin. And his brother, Jeffrey, is involved in numerous enterprises, including Fifth Street Gaming, operator of the recently opened Downtown Grand and other gaming locations.

via Rockhouse, PBR Rock Bar Owner Just a Local Kid on the Strip | Vegas Seven.

I think fine has done some interesting things, and I’m eager to see what he does next.

Tipping the Odds with Grandissimo

The Grandissimo media tour continues with a guest appearance on the Tipping the Odds podcast. I enjoyed talking about the book with Mitch and Dr. Kev:

Tipping the Odds #91: Interview with Dr. David Schwartz

Direct link to show

Listen in—it was a lot of fun recording it. I’m still trying to think of an appropriate Vegas story for their book prohect. 

From the Emerald City to Pharaoh’s Tomb | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I have a feature article considering the ways that the spirit of 1993 is still with us:

In the fall of 1993, the wrapping came off three new resorts that promised to change the way people visited Las Vegas. The opening of The Mirage four years earlier is rightfully credited for kicking off the megaresort era on the Strip, and Excalibur, which opened in 1990, proved that the family-friendly, mass-market model worked just as well for new hotels as for older ones. But the 1993 openings of Luxor October 15, Treasure Island October 27 and MGM Grand December 18 seemed to define a new direction for the Strip: families, and lots of them.

It was a big gamble, $1.9 billion invested on more than 10,000 hotel rooms and new attractions that were either going to open up Las Vegas to a new market or be the most expensive failures in the city’s history. And at first, it seemed to pay off. In 1994, Las Vegas visitation increased from 23.5 million to 28.2 million. That doesn’t seem so incredible now that we’re flirting with the 40 million mark, but at the time it was a nearly 20 percent jump—the biggest increase ever, both proportionally and in absolute numbers. Even the four horsemen of 1998-99—Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Paris and Venetian—only moved the needle by 10 percent.

via From the Emerald City to Pharaoh’s Tomb | Vegas Seven.

I think that the importance of what those three resorts meant to Las Vegas has been forgotten, for a few reasons. First, the late-1990s upscaling boom, which you could argue lasted until the opening of Cosmopolitan in 2010, seemed superficially to be a more important transition. Second, the resorts themselves changed their identities within a few years. Third, with the post-2001 shift towards nightlife, the 1990s emphasis on family attractions is a little embarrassing. And finally, Las Vegas casinos are much more about the present than their past.

But, as I discuss in the article, we owe a great deal to those openings, and we have not moved as far from them as we think.

Grandissimo on Gambling with an Edge

Yesterday the Grandissimo media tour reached critical mass, with several interview tapings. The first of these to be posted is my interview with Bob Dancer and Richard Munchkin on the Gambling with an Edge Radio Show:

The show is available here:

I really enjoyed talking with Bob and Richard about the book. With their own long careers in gambling, they added a real perspective to the discussion.