The Past Is Still With Us: A Look Behind and Forward at Las Vegas’ history

In my latest at Vegas Seven, I muse about the shame of the recent past, which seems to be a perpetual thing in Las Vegas:

There’s always been the perception in Las Vegas that the old days weren’t good, but the older days were great. Of course, here, the past is all relative. When I arrived in town to stay in 2001, an old-timer was someone who had moved here before the Great Mirage Boom of the 1990s. Now, it might be someone who put down roots before the recession

Read more: The Past Is Still With Us: A Look Behind and Forward at Las Vegas’ history

Maybe it’s like this everywhere, but I’m writing about it in Las Vegas because I see it in Las Vegas, since I live there. Well, Henderson.

Understanding the Wynn Legacy and its Impact on Las Vegas

Since last night, I’ve had many, many questions about Steve Wynn. I decided to write up some of my thoughts, and Vegas Seven published them:

The news of Steve Wynn’s resignation from the company he founded, Wynn Resorts, has brought more questions than answers in Las Vegas. Most of those questions won’t be answered for some time, if ever. Right now, many people are wondering where Wynn’s apparent departure from an active leadership role leaves his company, Las Vegas and the hospitality business. I can’t answer those questions, but I can offer a few words about what Steve Wynn has accomplished in and for the casino industry.

Read more: Understanding the Wynn Legacy and its Impact on Las Vegas

I think that we haven’t heard the last of this story or Wynn.

Casino Future Was Not So Hard to Predict 22 Years Ago in Vegas 7

People demand to know the future. That’s impossible, but anyone can make a guess as to what’s going to happen. It’s easy to be right about the superficial things. But it takes a special talent to see the deeper future that lies in wait. 22 years ago, Eugene Christiansen had a good read on where Las Vegas was heading:

But there’s a huge incentive for those running businesses to get a peek into the future. If they can get a little ahead of the curve, they can invest more wisely, make more money and presumably be happier. Journalists, too, like to see things before they happen: Getting the big scoop leads to professional recognition and personal validation.

The problem, though, is that the future we see is hardly ever the one we get. Even when forecasts are accurate, the big picture can change so much that they are meaningless; sometimes so many of the small details are fudged that we don’t realize the future is actually here.

Read more: Casino Future Was Not So Hard to Predict 22 Years Ago

At first blush, Christiansen’s assertion about which casino  was “the future” seems laughable, but when you look at it, he was absolutely right. I

AI Could Change More Than the Game(s) in Las Vegas

I first wrote this about a month ago. I was just thinking about the potential impact of AI and automation on Las Vegas. And now you can read it:

Since the invention of the slot machine over 100 years ago, automation has been a part of gambling, generally for the better. And yet recent developments in AI could substantially shift the Las Vegas resort industry, possibly (though not necessarily) for the better.

Read more: AI Could Change More Than the Game(s) in Las Vegas

I still don’t know whether more automation will be good or bad in the long term. There is just too much that I don’t know about the topic. I guess that why it’s the future.

National Finals Rodeo More Necessary Than Ever in Vegas Seven

My latest for Vegas Seven is some thoughts on what NFR returning to Las Vegas means this December:

It might have initially been a marriage of convenience, but over the years Las Vegas and the cowboys (and cowgirls) have struck up a genuine romance. The annual year-end boots and belts makeover has become an anticipated end-of-year rite

Read more : National Finals Rodeo Is Back—and More Necessary Than Ever

It disrupts campus parking, but it is always great to see the rodeo fans come back to the Thomas and Mack.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case Influencing Legal Sports Betting in Vegas Seven

Today in Vegas Seven I talk a little bit about what might come after the broader legalization of sports betting in the United States:

The case stems from New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting, in contravention of PASPA, a 1992 law that banned new states from legalizing sports betting. Although New Jersey had a chance to authorize legal betting before PASPA took effect, the state punted. In 2012, its legislature legalized sports betting, which was struck down by federal courts. Like a Bruce Springsteen song, the state did not give up, and that effort has brought us to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s suit seeking to overturn PASPA.

As a non-lawyer, I won’t attempt to handicap Christie’s chance of prevailing here. Instead, as a historian, I’ll consider what happens next, whatever the court decides.

Source: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case Influencing Legal Sports Betting

I got a few calls last week on the topic, and after spending some time talking it over, thought I would post my thoughts for a wider audience.


Pennsylvania gambling expands and other states will follow

My latest for Vegas Seven–some thoughts on the meaning of Pennsylvania’s expansion of gambling:

There are two areas of interest for Las Vegans. The first is the expansion itself. In a sense, Pennsylvania’s push may be the final phase of the expansion of American gambling, which started with Nevada’s re-legalization of wide-open commercial gaming in 1931, intensified with New Hampshire’s revival of the lottery in 1964, opened again with the 1976 legalization of casino gaming in Atlantic City and accelerated following Congress’ 1988 passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The result of this growth is that legal gambling, which in 1910 was limited to horse race betting in Kentucky and Maryland, is now the norm in the United States.

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IMHO, more gambling expansion is probably on the way. No big surprise, but I give a few of my reasons in the article.

A Small Town Cools Down, A Big League City Heats Up – Vegas Seven

When the weather changed a few weeks back, I started thinking about the end of summer. I ended with some meditations on what makes Las Vegas different and how it is no longer quite as special:

Until now, Las Vegas has been many things, but a big league town was not one of them. As the Vegas Golden Knights take the ice for the first time at T-Mobile Arena, that last vestige of small-town Las Vegas will be gone forever. The town will be in sports sections nationally, not just for boxing and mixed martial arts spectacles, but for the season-long grind of NHL hockey.

Read more: A Small Town Cools Down, A Big League City Heats Up – Vegas Seven

I just wanted to get at how Las Vegas is changing in front of us. Ten years from now, we will probably appreciate this more than we do now.

Bully Ray Reflects on His Wrestling Legacy – Vegas Seven

My second ROH interview is with Bully Ray, who needs no introduction, but got one anyway:

There, the Dudley Boyz (as he and D-Von were known) helped to redefine tag-team wrestling. In 2005, the pair jumped ship to rival Total Nonstop Action, where they were known as Team 3D. Renaming himself Bully Ray after splitting with Brother Devon, Bully captured the TNA World Heavyweight Championship twice before reuniting with D-Von in the WWE. Earlier this year, he arrived in Ring of Honor wrestling, where he captured the Six-Man Tag Team Championship with the Briscoe brothers, Jay and Mark. Bully and the Briscoes have the opportunity to reclaim their championship at the upcoming Death Before Dishonor XV Pay-Per-View, which originates from Sam’s Town Live right here in Las Vegas on September 22.

Read more: Bully Ray Dudley Reflects on His Wrestling Legacy – Vegas Seven

Death Before Dishonor should be a good show, to say the least.

Hometown Hero Kenny King Preps for the Fight of His Career – Vegas Seven

My latest for Vegas Seven is a pair of interview with ROH wrestlers. The first I’m sharing today is with Kenny King:

Kenny King has shown the world many faces: aspiring sports entertainer, reality show contestant, multiple-time wrestling champion. A participant on the WWE-produced Tough Enough and cast member of the most recent season of The Bachelorette, the two-time TNA Wrestling X-Division champion is currently with Ring of Honor. At their Death Before Dishonor Pay-Per-View on September 22, he challenges Japanese sensation Yujiro Kushida for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship. The Las Vegas resident takes a few moments to reflect on his career, his adopted hometown and giving back.

Read more: Hometown Hero Kenny King Preps for the Fight of His Career – Vegas Seven

Very interesting guy. Amusing coincidence: we both apparently moved to Las Vegas in the same year.