It’s really easy for me to notice when NFR is in town because it’s marginally harder for me to park at UNLV. But what does NFR really mean to the rest of the city? I’ve already gone the economic impact route, so this time I started thinking a little less literally:
It’s hard not to notice when the National Finals Rodeo is back in town: The whole city, it seems, repurposes itself to cater to rodeo participants and their fans. There’s no denying the economic boost the 10-day event gives Las Vegas during the slowest stretch of the calendar. But the connection between NFR and Las Vegas is deeper than mere economics: The rodeo speaks to fundamental truths about Las Vegas’ identity as an urban area in the western United States.
via National Finals Rodeo Goes Beyond Local Economics | Vegas Seven.
It’s nice to have the chance to think about what events like NFR really say about Las Vegas. I hope you get something out of the article–I certainly found myself learning as I wrote it.
In this week’s Green Felt , I consider how Las Vegas might just have a few lessons for Macau after all:
Once those architects began planning resorts, however, it became apparent that Asia was not Las Vegas, and that what worked so well here for the previous generation—large slot parlors with table-gaming cores—was not at all adaptable to conditions on the ground in China. So American operators—Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International—did the adapting, emphasizing baccarat while adjusting to a market where VIP play dwarfed the mass market.
via What Macau Can Learn from Las Vegas | Vegas Seven
There’s a line between trying to replicate what works in Las Vegas just because it works in Las Vegas and figuring out how to make things that worked in Las Vegas work in other areas. I think we are seeing companies navigating that line.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the 150-year history of Nevada and gambling, and wonder what the future will hold:
The original match wasn’t exactly a marriage of convenience, but it wasn’t a forbidden romance, either. When Nevada joined the Union in 1864, it soberly criminalized the gambling that had been rampant—as it was virtually everywhere in the West—during its territorial days.
via Is Nevada Moving Away From Gambling? | Vegas Seven.
I wanted to make the point that Nevada’s relationship with gambling has never been about gambling–it’s usually been about something else, whether it’s Western-style personal liberty or economic development.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I discuss how Las Vegas faces change:
Now let’s broaden that concept and consider how Las Vegas not just the casino industry responds to changes dealt to it externally. For example, earlier this month, gay marriage became legal in Nevada. Almost immediately, the question being asked wasn’t whether Nevada’s wedding industry chapels, and the ancillary businesses that support them would benefit from the landmark ruling, but how much it would benefit—and how quickly casinos would jump in.
via As New Jersey Moves to Legalize Sports Betting, Nevada Stays One Step Ahead | Vegas Seven
A broader legalization of sports gambling would definitely shake things up, but with sports gambling being such a small part of Nevada gaming revenues, I don’t think it would hurt Las Vegas casinos. More familiarity with wagering might even help them.
There were many interesting things at this year’s G2E. In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I discuss a few that stood out to me:
Among the more important topics addressed at the annual Global Gaming Expo, held earlier this month at the Sands Expo Center, focused on an industry in transition. Even as the number of casinos where people can gamble is increasing, the interest of millennials—those born more or less after 1981—may be waning. So those running casinos and those who make the machines that currently fill them have a dilemma: How do they reach out to new customers—without alienating their existing ones?
via Game Changers From the Global Gaming Expo | Vegas Seven
I feel that we’re on the threshold of a major change in what kinds of games are on casino floors. I’m gathering info for the 2015 Table Games Report (which I will preview at Raving’s Cutting Edge Table Games Conference next month) and it looks like tables are continuing to gain ground on slots. I think that casinos and manufacturers will start experimenting with different kinds of machines to address that trend.
This week, I offer some thoughts on casino saturation in the Green Felt Journal:
One-third of Atlantic City’s casinos have closed this year. Simultaneously, new casinos are under construction or on the drawing board in surrounding states. So how many casinos are too many? More pressingly, has the industry reached the saturation point?
via For the Gaming Industry, How Much Is Too Much? | Vegas Seven.
The market for what’s existing is gone–now is the time to build for future demand, which is likely going to look very different from what worked in the 1990s.
This week, the 2014 Nevada Press Association awards were announced. I was fortunate to receive two awards From UNLV Special Collections’ blog:
Special Collections is excited to announce that our colleague, David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research, recently received two awards in the Nevada Press Association’s 2014 Better Newspaper contest, thanks to his work in Vegas Seven magazine.
Schwartz was recognized in the categories of Best Local Column for his bi-weekly Green Felt Journal and Best Feature Story for “The Book That Tried to End Vegas,” a look back on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris’s The Green felt Jungle. On the whole, Vegas Seven received 18 NPA awards this year, including a first-place General Excellence honor for urban weekly publications.
via Special Collections | University Libraries
It really is an honor to have my work recognized like this. I’m grateful to everyone at Vegas Seven who has put out such a great, award-winning publication. They really do make it fun.
As an Atlantic City native and an observer of the casino scene, I’ve gotten asked my opinion on what’s happening there. I’m glad to have the chance to write a column that summarizes how I feel. It’s a bit of a history lesson and a cautionary tale:
Atlantic City casinos prospered in those years because they were the only game not just in town, but in the entire eastern half of the country. Within five years of New Jersey voters approving gaming, nine hotel-casinos were in operation, drawing 19 million visitors to the formerly moribund seaside resort, employing 30,000 people, and pulling in more than $1 billion a year.
via What Atlantic City Needs to Learn From Las Vegas | Vegas Seven
I’ll probably do some more writing about Atlantic City–well, that’s as sure a bet as there is–but this is how I feel about it right now.
I’m really excited to be a part of this. Tomorrow night I get to present a live commentary track for the movie Casino along with Oscar Goodman:
This Wednesday, September 10, at Inspire, DTLV.com and Vegas Seven are bringing some of your favorite Las Vegas films together with some of those deep thinkers. The Seven Essential Vegas Movies series begins with a screening of Martin Scorcese’s 1995 classic “Casino,” featuring live commentary by David Schwartz, Director of the Center of Gaming Research at UNLV and author of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, and Oscar Goodman, former Mayor of the City of Las Vegas and, y’know, kind of the king of all he surveys. Hell, he’s actually in “Casino,” playing himself. You can’t get any closer to the story of “Casino” than actually being a part of it.
via Introducing Seven Essential Vegas Movies at Inspire | DTLV
I have no idea how this is going to play out and have no script prepared, which leads me to think this is going to be a lot of fun. Join us!
Here is this week’s Green Felt Journal, on the opening of SLS–and what it means:
The Sahara’s closing on May 16, 2011, was significant in more ways than one: It was not only the demise of one of the Strip’s few remaining classic casinos, but it essentially marked the depth of the Great Recession. So the August 23 rise of SLS Las Vegas from the bones of the Sahara says a great deal about where Las Vegas is heading—and how it will get there.
via The Strip’s New Monkey Business | Vegas Seven.
I’ve got a lot more to say on the subject–hopefully on a future Vegas Gang.