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.
Read more: Pennsylvania gambling expands and other states will follow
IMHO, more gambling expansion is probably on the way. No big surprise, but I give a few of my reasons in the article.
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.
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.
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.
The sale of the Fontainebleau finally happening got me thinking about the history of that property, which made for a decent Green Felt Journal:
The Fontainebleau’s construction began in 2007 and stopped amid the recession in 2009. As with the Marc Antony and Countryland USA projects, lack of financing was the culprit. But the scale of its failure reveals much about how Las Vegas’ ambitions and potential for disaster have grown.
Read more: Second Chances on the North Strip – Vegas Seven
My perspective came to be that the Fontainebleau’s fizzle wasn’t an anomaly for that site–a successful development would be. You can read why by clicking through.
For my 200th Green Felt Journal, I took a look back at the first 199 columns:
My first GFJ came in the first issue of Vegas Seven, released February 4, 2010. The column itself (and its name) was the brainchild of then-editor Phil Hagen; it’s a take on Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris’ anti-Vegas potboiler, The Green Felt Jungle (see “The Book That Tried to End Las Vegas” for the whole story on that volume).
Source: Green Felt Journal Deals 200 – Vegas Seven
My first thought was, “that’s a lot of columns.” It was a bit humbling to browse the archives and see some of what I’ve written.
It’s always fun to profile interesting people. That’s definitely the case in my second look at Jon Gray:
“I called George [Maloof, founder of Palms] right away. He said, ‘You’re the right guy for the job. If anyone can bring Palms back, it’s you and the Fertittas [brothers Frank and Lorenzo are the chairman and director of Red Rock Resorts, owner of Palms and Station Casinos].’” So, earlier this year, Gray, who started in the hospitality industry behind the front desk, returned to Palms as general manager and vice president.
Read more: Jon Gray Is Ready for Round Two – Vegas Seven
Looks like they are shaking things up at the Palms.
As part of that Vegas Seven future issue, I looked at a Vancouver development that reflects the future of casino design in Las Vegas and elsewhere:
Traditionally, Las Vegas has set the bar for casino innovations. In the past decade, however, that has changed because of the proliferation of gaming. There have been tremendous strides taken in casino design in Macau, as well as innovative games and systems on the floors of California tribal casinos. And Parq Vancouver, a soon-to-open British Columbia property, may be redefining the boutique urban resort.
Read more: Parq to the Future – Vegas Seven
The trend seems to be smaller and less gaming-focused, even outside of Las Vegas.
I have a big feature in this week’s Vegas Seven: The Las Vegas Strip of the Future. Fittingly, I approached the future by taking in the past:
Looking at how the Las Vegas Strip has evolved over the past 60 years can give us an idea of where it is headed. We’ll survey what’s popular in three facets—gambling, entertainment and nightlife—by decade to give us a feel for how the landscape will continue to transform over the next 10 years.
Times change. Tastes change. So Las Vegas changes.
Read more: The Las Vegas Strip of the Future – Vegas Seven
Traveling back through time by immersing myself in the back issues of local magazine was, as always, an amazing journey. It was such a different place in so many ways. Anyway, I hope you like this walk from memory lane to the near-future.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I reflect back on EVO 2017, which I attended a while back:
Which brings us to EVO 2017, which took place at the Mandalay Bay last month. EVO is short for the Evolution Championship Series, an annual tournament that seeks to crown the best players in several fighting video games, one of many popular genres of esports. This isn’t the first time the tournament has been held in Las Vegas—it’s been here since 2005.
Read more: Esports Draw an Audience More Interested In Fun Than Payouts – Vegas Seven
If you don’t know anything about the tournament, it features fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken. Esports in Las Vegas are interesting to me because they show (I think) how esports are becoming more mainstream and (simultaneously) how Las Vegas continues to adapt to a post-gambling-monopoly existence. People come to Las Vegas to do many things, and gambling seems to be sliding further down the list.
I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I’m just saying it’s happening.