28
Jun

The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

I got the opportunity to write a piece about how the NHL’s announcement it is coming to Las Vegas fits in with the history of gambling for the Washington Post. Here is a small sample:

In that atmosphere, professional sports — whose legitimacy has at times been tainted by gambling-related scandals from the infamous 1919 Black Sox to college-basketball point shaving — were right to distance themselves from gambling. It was mostly illegal and, even where it was allowed, was not well-regarded by the rest of the country. With the United States nearly unanimous against gambling, legal or otherwise, this was a no-brainer.

Source: The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

Obviously this is a little different from my usual writing for Vegas Seven–it gave me the chance to address a different audience. My gratitude goes to the editors at the Post, and of course, my editors at Seven who give me the chance to write about such a range of topics.

17
Feb

Casinos in Canada

Casinos evolved quite differently in Canada from the United States, following a mix of the European statist model and the U.S. free enterprise one. Most casinos in Canada are owned by either a provincial government or run for charitable organizations.

Most of the charitable casinos are in Western Canada. The first provincially-owned casino in Eastern Canada, Quebec’s Casino de Montreal, opened in 1993, followed the following year by Ontario’s Casino Windsor, right across the border from downtown Detroit.

There is much more interesting material about casinos in Canada and everywhere else in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

13
Feb

What is Grandissimo?

This is a book project that I’ve been working on for several years. It’s the story of the man who I believe to be the single most influential figure in Las Vegas casinos in the 1960s and 1970s, but who unfortunately not many people know about.

I’m substantially finished the book, and hope to publish it later this year.

Until then, I’m using this space to let people know about the book.

11
Feb

Three excerpts from Roll the Bones


Today I’ve added three excerpts from Roll the Bones to the site to give you a little flavor of the book if you haven’t picked up a copy already. Enjoy!

1. Author’s Note/Prologue

This is the introductory overview to the book, giving an idea of its scope—and the changes in the Casino Edition.

2. Why the Mob won Vegas

This excerpt, from chapter 10, “A Place in the Sun,” explains how the Mob carved out influence on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s and 1960s, and why it was so dominant.


3. The Rise of Atlantic City

The opening pages of chapter 12, “America’s Playground…Again” discuss the rebirth and rise to (brief) dominance of Atlantic City’s casinos in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

To learn where you can buy Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, please visit here

10
Feb

The author talks about what Roll the Bones covers, and gives a…



The author talks about what Roll the Bones covers, and gives a little of the publishing backstory.

24
Aug

World War One and Atlantic City

In response to this photo and Bat-Signal request for more info, I wanted to post a link to an Atlantic City history column I’d written for Casino Connection a few (nine) years back. Turns out that it’s one of the 10 or so AC history pieces not in the Casino Connection archives.

Looking at the sixty or so articles I wrote for Casino Connection over the years, I think I have the core of a pretty good book. But some articles will need some revision, both for content and style.

So here is the entire article, which has the answer to the original question, “What is this?”…after the jump.

Continue reading

9
Aug

My Boardwalk Homecoming in Vegas Seven

I’ve got a very special Green Felt Journal out in today’s Vegas Seven. No, it’s not like a “very special episode” of Diff’rent Strokes or The Fact of Life that’s going to pontificate on a current social issue. Instead, I’m talking about the usual stuff I talk about in that space–gambling, casinos, and tourism–but in a much more personal way than I usually do. Here’s a snippet:

The Atlantic City I left was on the other side of history: a city left for dead, one that maybe, someday, might come back. Like Las Vegas, it blew up its past; some of my earliest memories were the implosions of the grand Boardwalk hotels. But this wasn’t replacing the Dunes with Bellagio. Old Atlantic City—the Traymore, the Marlborough-Blenheim, Million Dollar Pier—hadn’t been improved upon; gold had been replaced with concrete and red neon, when anything was built at all. Unlike Las Vegas, you never could shake the sense that you were one or two generations from the golden age.

via A Boardwalk Homecoming | Vegas Seven.

I usually don’t get that autobiographical, because there’s usually not that much of a need for me to put myself into the story. After all, it’s usually pretty straight-forward stuff–a personality profile, a sketch of a current issue–that calls for, at most, some editorial comment, but not much personal reflection.

So this is a different kind of writing for me, but for this story, it’s a path that I had to take. If it succeeds, it’s largely due to the unstinting support and fantastic sounding board of my editor, Greg Blake Miller.

On a more (literally) pedestrian note, I’ve also got some thoughts on Revel over on Two Way Hard Three. I liked the place, quite a bit, but there were a few things that left me scratching my head.

6
Oct

Alfred Heston in Casino Connection

This month in Casino Connection, I take a look back at one of Atlantic City’s most honest public officials, and its first noteworthy historian, Alfred Heston:

Atlantic City has seen generations of public officials and interested citizens, but few residents have left a legacy as monumental as Alfred Miller Heston, a newspaper publisher, historian and city official.

via Making History: Atlantic City’s Alfred Heston | Casino Connection Atlantic City.

This was a fun one to write. Heston was a truly unique Atlantic City character, and his name lives on in the Heston Collection at the Atlantic City Free Public Library.

25
Feb

Trump Plaza History

This has been up for a while, but I haven’t linked it yet and, with the news that Donald Trump and Carl Icahn are dueling over Trump casino empire, it’s relatively timely: my piece on the early history of Trump Plaza in Casino Connection:

Trump was leery of the Casino Control Commission. It had forced Caesars World’s founders Clifford and Stuart Perlman to step down before giving Caesars Boardwalk Regency a license. It had denied a license to Hilton after the company had already built its casino. And it caused so many problems for Hugh Hefner that the Playboy founder torpedoed the Atlantis casino.

Trump refused to turn so much as a shovel of dirt until commissioners voted yea or nay on his license. In March 1982, he got his wish—and his license—in hearings that lasted two hours (by contrast, hearings for the Atlantis dragged out for two months).

via Plaza Suite: History of Trump Plaza | Plaza Suite: History of Trump Plaza | Casino Connection Atlantic City.

I quoted that bit because it seems relevant, with MGM Mirage leaving AC over regulatory issues.

17
Oct

Bugsy unearthed at UNLV!

We’re having a great talk next Thursday night down at the library. It’s been on the gaming.unlv.edu schedule for a while, but I thought it would be nice to offer a friendly reminder:

"There Were Few Solid Facts to Get in the Way":

Popular Perceptions of Bugsy Siegel as Founding Father of Las Vegas

A Special Presentation for Nevada Archives Week 2008

Larry Gragg, Ph.D.

Curators’ Teaching Professor

History and Political Science

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, Missouri

March 2008 Visiting Gaming Research Fellow

Special Time: 7:30 PM

Special Location: Lied Library Extended Study Lounge–First Floor

Center for Gaming Research: Gaming Research Colloquium Series

Dr. Gragg has done some very deep research into the Siegel conundrum, and I think that this is as close as we’re going to get to an honest, accurate assessment of his impact. If you are interested in Las Vegas or history, or both, I welcome you to come to campus for this free event. Bonus–since it’s after 7, parking is totally free as well.