The Meetup at Sea is going to be fun–me talking about gambling, entrepreneurship, and all the fun of a Caribbean cruise. 4 nights, sailing out of Miami, July 30.
Last week for Forbes (how time flies!) I wrote about the ultimate impact the Vegas Golden Knights have had on Las Vegas:
Speaking of on-ice accomplishments, it would be hard to script a better first season for the team. Even a Stanley Cup win would have been a worse outcome. To use a gambling analogy: If you hit Megabucks for millions the first time you sit down at a machine, there really is no reason to play a second time. You’ll just never be able to match that jackpot (unless you’re Elmer Sherwin). Had the Knights taken home hockey’s biggest prize in their rookie year, there would have been no place to go but down.
Fun article to write. It is mind-blowing to think that Las Vegas is becoming a rising center for youth hockey.
I got interested in slot YouTubers a while back. Last week, two of them had their channels suspended, which made it newsworthy. This Forbes piece talks about the controversy:
On June 3rd at 7:28 in the morning, Brian Christopher got an email from “The YouTube Team” telling him that his video, “Smokin’ Hot Gems, BIG WIN Mammoth Power Slot Machine Pokies w Brian Christopher” had been taken down for violating content restrictions on “violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.” This was his first strike. Seconds later, he got another email telling him that “due to repeated or severe violations” of YouTube’s community guidelines, his account had been suspended. His channel, which he had been building for two years, had vanished. Hundreds of his videos, all of which feature him playing slot machines and winning jackpots, were wiped out.
The whole phenomenon of the slot channels deserves more attention, but I think the real story here is the control YouTube has over content and the opaque way that the company enforces its community guidelines.
It’s been a few days, but last week I wrote something for Forbes about Joe Asher and Delaware’s first single-game sports bet:
In the wake of PASPA’s repeal, many states have made their intentions to start taking legal bets clear. But Delaware was the first to act on its intentions. But it’s been a long struggle to taking that first bet, something that William Hill US CEO Joe Asher, who started in the betting business at Wilmington’s Brandywine Raceway at the age of 16, knows better than anybody.
Quite a story, to say the least.
My second piece for Forbes.com is a look at what the math of slot machines means for the casino and the player:
Slot machines remain the most important money-making part of casinos in the United States. In many states, casinos make between 65 and 80 percent of their gambling income from slots. In Las Vegas, the percentage varies from 88 percent in casinos that cater primarily to locals to 50 percent on the Las Vegas Strip, where high rollers betting tens of thousands a dollar a hand skews the results in favor of table games. Every day, players put millions of dollars into slot machines. Why?
So far the reaction to my new writing home has been very positive. Thanks to everyone who made the jump to Forbes with me, and to all my new readers. And a big thanks to Bob Ambrose, who answered my questions very well.
My first piece as a Forbes.com contributor takes a look at the April Nevada gaming numbers, and what they mean:
The Gaming Revenue Report features numbers for all casinos in the state, broken down into 25 reporting areas, which sometimes overlap. For example, Clark County is a reporting area, but so is the Las Vegas Strip, which is in Clark County. Within each reporting area, results are aggregated, so you won’t be able to find out what the roulette hold for the Venetian was, but you can find out the average for all Las Vegas Strip casinos. Select reporting areas are further divided by revenue ranges, so if you want you can filter out bigger or smaller properties.
Any piece of writing that concludes with the Golden Knights can’t be that bad. Unless, I suppose, you are a diehard Caps fan this week.
As I mentioned in my last post, Vegas Seven magazine has shut down. Again, I had an incredible run there, from the first issue to the final week, and couldn’t have asked to work with a better set of creative professionals.
That being said, I have found a new home for my regular writing about Las Vegas, casinos, and my little corner of the world: Forbes.com.
I’m really pleased to be part of a truly national platform that will hopefully allow me to introduce some of my analysis to the bigger conversation about gambling, Las Vegas, and so much more.
I would love it if you went to my Forbes homepage and followed me. I’m hoping to post new things twice a week or so.
It took some time to see the light of day, but I hope this lengthy consideration of Hard Rock, Virgin, and Las Vegas is a worthy read:
Richard Branson made a splash on March 30 when he announced that he and a group of investors had bought the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, with plans to transform it, over the next year and a half, into a Virgin Hotels–branded property. This is the latest evolution for a resort that, in its 23 years, has pioneered in ways that have defined Las Vegas.
It looks like this is the final piece I’ll be writing for Vegas Seven; I got word the magazine is ceasing publication. It was a great run–I was part of the first issue back in 2010, and I’m really grateful for everyone who worked with me over the years.
I will have something exciting to announce about my next writing endeavor, but that is for another time.
I am very excited to announce that the audio version of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling is now available. For the second time, I collaborated with Eric Martin, who narrated and produced the audio version.
The audio version has some unique content–an interview where Eric and I talk a little about the writing process for the book and what has happened in the gambling world since the paperback/ebook’s 2013 publication.
You can buy the book through Amazon, Audible, or iTunes. If you have never used Audible, you are in luck. I have a special code that can get you a free 30-day Audible trial, which will let you listen to all 16 hours and 59 minutes of the book for free.
I’d like to thank Eric for all of his hard work on this project–it would not have happened without him.
So if you have 17 hours worth of travel time, downtime, or just plain free time and want to learn more about the history of gambling with an emphasis on casinos, you are in luck.
My latest for Vegas Seven is about “fake” history in a real community:
There’s a lot of talk about how quick Las Vegas is to throw out its history. (“Las Vegas” being used as shorthand for the resort operators who make many important decisions about the region’s most prominently built environments.) What’s missing is how that history can often find a second life that is sometimes more fulfilling than its original one.
Read it all: Replicated History in the Community – Vegas Seven
It’s just one of those quirky things that makes you remember Las Vegas is a real place with real people living in it.