Gambling after Katrina

I know people say that the casino industry is recession-proof, but this might be taking this too far. Steve Lopez of the LA Times has a great story about someone gambling in Lake Charles, Louisiana, even though his New Orleans-area home is still underwater. Evidence, perhaps, that the human urge to gamble is almost as strong as the survival instinct.
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One year in

It’s hard to believe, but Die is Cast is one year old this week. Here’s a few random thoughts:

If Rome on HBO couldn’t get any cooler, there was gambling–and a gambling-related brawl–that, according to episode 2’s title, “brought down the republic.”

Was the gambling scene historically accurate? In a sense, yes: all the archaeological and historical evidence shows that gambling was a Roman fascination. I’m not sure about the game, though: my English-language research into Roman gambling (for Roll the Bones, of course), led me to conclude that the most common Roman gambling game used three dice. But the depiction of gambling is definitely on the mark: as graffiti found at Pompeii makes clear, both cheating at gambling and gambling-related brawling was commonplace.

In a totally unrelated observation, this is the coolest sentence I’ve read online in a while:

Sci-fi condo living for people who have too much money to spend.

It’s from a Vegas Tripping feature about the Project City Center. For those interested in the near future of Vegas, this is a must read.

Also, Cutting the Wire is now out. I signed three copies at Mandalay Bay’s Reading Room this weekend. Amazon says that it hasn’t been released yet, but I have physically seen copies of the book for sale. Maybe the Internet isn’t always right about everything. Perish the thought.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who stops by here and reads my posts. In honor of the 1-year anniversary, I’ve posted a gallery of desktop wallpaper that you might find interesting.

Hail, Augustus

I never thought of this until now, but wouldn’t it be funny if, in keeping with the success of Spamalot, they tweaked Caesars Palace to be more like Life of Brian than Gladiator? That’s just a thought as I prepare to go to the grand opening of the Augustus Tower.
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Gulf Coast update

Projections of the damage caused by Katrina, it seems, keep getting worse. The governor of Mississippi was quoted as saying that all Gulf Coast casinos had been completely destroyed. Even if it’s not that dire, it looks very bad. Any destruction of property, of course, pales beside the loss of human life, just as any talk of rebuilding takes a back seat to the immediate effort to save lives.
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Update from Harrah’s

I just got a press release detailing what’s going on with Harrah’s casinos in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina. It’s not the end of the world for the company by any stretch of the imagination–they’ve got property damage and business interruption insurance–but things don’t sound that great for the Gulf Coast casinos, with no re-opening dates even guessed at.
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Bad to worse

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is clear that the damage is much worse than originally thought. Dozens of people have lost their lives, homes and business have been destroyed, and much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been devastated. As far as casinos go, this is an unmitigated disaster.
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Katrina closes casinos

Hurricane Katrina is, as I write this, devastating parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, and, as is increasingly common these days, there is a connection to gambling: casinos in the area, particuarly on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, have been hit hard, and the impact–in both the short and long run–will be felt nationally.
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Kids gambling are breadwinners?

Yesterday, I wrote up a story about a wealthy Singapore family who sent their teenage son to a casino management seminar to learn about the business of gambling. Today, we’ve got something from the other end of the socio-economic spectrum: South African school children who gamble so that their families can eat.
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