A Gambling Bear

Dealing with gambling, history, and popular culture for a living, I like to keep abreast of new developments. This means a whole bunch of things: following financial results for casino companies, checking out casinos for the latest games and promotions, and seeing how gambling is depicted in art. Today I decided to spend five minutes checking ebay for the latest gambling auctions, and I found Lucky, the Gambling Bear:

LUCKY the gambling bear

As of 9/27/05, you can still win this pot-sweeping bad boy by bidding on him here. He’s 16″ and fully jointed.

I don’t see any other bears, so I’ve got to ask…doesn’t he get lonely playing, um, with himself?
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Goodbye Grand

Last year, I snapped a picture of the Grand Casino Gulfport’s barge:
Grand Casino Gulfport, 2004

The Grand didn’t fare so well in Hurricane Katrina: it was swept from its moorings and deposited across Highway 90.

Today, I was emailed a series of photos of its implosion:

Why the implosion? Read on…
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Rebuilding the Gulf Coast

The major casino companies involved in the Gulf Coast have already announced that they intend to rebuild. But will it be on land or water?
Mississippi gov. Haley Barbour, speaking more broadly of the general reconstruction of the region, said that “if we rebuild the Coast and South Mississippi back just the way it was before, we will have failed.” So does that mean that the legislature will change the state’s gaming laws to allow for casinos on land?
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A t-shirt for the times

I’m waiting for this poster to arrive in the mail some day…it’s an even-money bet as to whether I would find a place for it in my office.
It would balance out my brand new “ROBOTcasino” poster. This isn’t a parody, either: the “Taiwan Fulgent Entertainment Company” was giving them away at G2E. The poster shows the company’s stock of table games manned by robotic arms and touts their vitures, such as “single card fetching.”

I’d steer you to the ROBOTcasino website, but it seems to be down.

On a serious note, if you’d like to help some very human casino dealers and other employees who need it, please make a donation to the Gaming Industry Katrina Relief Fund.

A new exhibit

I had a ton of great stuff with which to inform and entertain everyone today, but the only news I have time for is directly work-related. With the help of Nishanth Bezawada, my grad student assistant, I have posted a beta version of the online version of the now-famous G2E 2005 exhibit “A Centennial Celebration of Gaming in Las Vegas.”

While, in the big picture, this is a pretty small accomplishment, I’d like to thank everyone at G2E, the AGA, Freeman, and of course UNLV whose hard work is reflected in this exhibit.

What was available last week to only the 30,000 G2E attendees and exhibitors is now free for all, thanks to the Internet.

It’s still beta, BTW, so there are some bugs to be worked out.

Check out the Centennial Celebration of Gaming in Las Vegas now, or miss out on the fun!

More G2E

As I write this, the Global Gaming Expo 2005 is in its waning hours. There are a host of stories in the LV Sun and RJ about the technologies unleashed this year–mostly server-based gaming, which is largely still in testing mode.

There were a ton of attendees and exhibitors this year. I’ve spent most of the past 2 days walking the floor and picking up promotional materials for the archives at the Center for Gaming Research, so I’m totally ready to move on. It’s been fun seeing the Centennial Celebration of Gaming in Las Vegas exhibit in action–while I’ve put together several online exhibits, this is the first “real” one that I’ve been invovled with. Everyone from G2E and Freeman did a great job with it. Expect pictures soon, and the online version should be live within two weeks.

At G2E

For those of you who are curious, my session this morning at G2E on the Wire Act was, I think, a real success. Bob Blumenfeld gave a great summary of the US/Antigua WTO case and Bill White from Global Cyber discussed the possibilities of intra-state legal Internet gaming. All in all, an interesting session. I couldn’t believe that, at 8 in the morning, we had well over 100 people attend.

In other news, the official ribbon-cutting took place this morning. In some ways mere formality, in some bizarre street theater, I won’t soon forget it.
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G2E is here!

As the Las Vegas Review Journal will tell you, the Global Gaming Expo has arrived. I was down there yesterday–working on a Sunday again–to drop off some materials for the big centennial of Las Vegas gaming exhibit, and the place was already buzzing. I’m expecting to be down there most of this week, so chances for postings are slim, unless I can sneak off and post something at the convention center.

Read the RJ article, if only to learn that George Lopez has a penny slot “based on his entertainment persona.” What else would it be based on? Him getting his car smog checked? Can I say that this website is based on my “academic persona?”

Seriously, as I was cruising the G2E website, I found a link that I want to pass on: the American Gaming Association’s Hurricane Katrina Casino Employee Relief Fund. I’m going to put up a permanent link here soon for it.

If you’re at the show, stop by the exhibit to say hi. It’s right next to registration in front of the main exhibit hall.