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.

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.

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.

The NFL used to shun Las Vegas. Why is it moving a team there? – The Washington Post

I’ve written up a few thoughts for the Washington Posts’s Post Everything on why Las Vegas is suddenly acceptable to the NFL:

The gambling industry here and football have been seeing each other secretly since the 1960s. But Monday’s 31-to-1 vote by league owners to permit the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas with (for now) no stipulations about sports betting is a sign that the league’s and city’s status has changed from “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship.”

Read more: The NFL used to shun Las Vegas. Why is it moving a team there? – The Washington Post

Looking at the history of the NFL, Las Vegas, and gambling is fascinating. The league is steadfastly opposed to legal sports betting despite the fact that many fans bet on the game and it clearly drives a lot of interest. I went back to the Commission on the Review of the National Policy Toward Gambling (1975) to get some context. Pete Rozelle testified extensively then, and laid it out very well.

What I found intriguing is that he said he wasn’t that afraid of legal betting causing actual corruption in the game, but that it might cause fans to think that there was corruption. If they were able to place bets legally, he said, they’d demand Congress investigate every time they lost a bet. Rozelle’s opposition to legal sports betting was rooted in a deep mistrust of his own fans, who he thought would see a conspiracy behind every botched play or blown call.

Because Las Vegas was the country’s sports betting nerve center, Las Vegas was forbidden–although he mentioned that they did monitor Vegas betting lines when looking for irregularities.

So what’s changed? Well, you can read what I think here.

Lucky Dragon 3 Months in | Vegas Seven

This week’s Green Felt Journal looks at how Lucky Dragon has adjusted in its first 3 months of operation, and what it means for Las Vegas casinos:

The latest Las Vegas hotel casino to open, the Lucky Dragon, has been up and running for more than three months. It may not have the immediate landscape-altering impact of the Strip behemoths that preceded it, but the way the casino is running could have profound implications on how Las Vegas casinos do business in the future.

Read more: Lucky Dragon Casino’s Influence May Be Greater Than Its Size

Interviewing Dave Jacoby, he was really into the rolling chip program, so that became a big focus of the article.

The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

This week in Vegas Seven, I also had a short article about how March Madness betting impacts Las Vegas:

In the past decade, the amount bet on the tournament has almost doubled. That’s more about the expanding popularity of sports betting itself, though, since the percentage of money bet on the tournament has remained close to 65 percent of all money bet at the books in March. Last year saw the biggest total bet on March Madness yet, and this year’s will likely be even bigger, but betting in general is increasing.

Source: The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

I looked at some numbers I hadn’t before, and the results, while probably not shocking, do confirm a few things I had suspected.

 

Why Las Vegas Casinos Need Better Infrastructure – Vegas Seven

In the latest Green Felt Journal, I talk about the importance of casino infrastructure:

It’s not as sexy as a new restaurant opening or a big winner in a sports betting contest, but infrastructure—all the stuff that needs to work for any large building to operate—has been in the news quite a bit lately for Las Vegas casinos.

Read more: Why Las Vegas Casinos Need Better Infrastructure – Vegas Seven

This is important, but not always interesting. With all of the power outages happening lately, I figured it was time to explore how resorts mitigate those problems.

What Will Gaming Look Like in 2017? – Vegas Seven

In my last Vegas Seven column of 2016, I look ahead to 2017:

Having gotten through a year that has seen the first post-recession casino opening and the birth of paid parking on the Strip, 2017 will likely bring even more change. The year ahead will see many shifts in gaming and hospitality in Las Vegas..

Read more: What Will Gaming Look Like in 2017? – Vegas Seven

Nothing too revolutionary, but I never like to make predictions because they are usually wrong. So instead I just charted a few things that are definitely happened and speculated about what they would mean.

Redesign, Rebuild, Reconnect Remains a Must for Casinos – Vegas Seven

I went full meta in this week’s Green Felt Journal. It was the first issue of a revamped Vegas Seven, so I talked with architect Brad Friedmutter about why Las Vegas hotels are constantly refreshing themselves:

With that in mind, while the new look of your favorite casino or weekly magazine might take some getting used to, odds are that a lot of thought and customer input went into it. If you like it, so much the better. If you don’t, make sure to tell someone why, because a new look is never too far off.

Read more: Redesign, Rebuild, Reconnect Remains a Must for Casinos – Vegas Seven

If you are in Las Vegas, pick up a physical copy of Seven to see the changes–I like the way it looks.

I’m pleased that my headline–“Redesign, Rebuild, Reconnect,” made it more or less intact to print. It’s a riff on Seth Rollins’s “Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim” that made sense to me.

The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

I got the opportunity to write a piece about how the NHL’s announcement it is coming to Las Vegas fits in with the history of gambling for the Washington Post. Here is a small sample:

In that atmosphere, professional sports — whose legitimacy has at times been tainted by gambling-related scandals from the infamous 1919 Black Sox to college-basketball point shaving — were right to distance themselves from gambling. It was mostly illegal and, even where it was allowed, was not well-regarded by the rest of the country. With the United States nearly unanimous against gambling, legal or otherwise, this was a no-brainer.

Source: The NHL is coming to Las Vegas because America is now a casino nation – The Washington Post

Obviously this is a little different from my usual writing for Vegas Seven–it gave me the chance to address a different audience. My gratitude goes to the editors at the Post, and of course, my editors at Seven who give me the chance to write about such a range of topics.