UNLV Gaming Podcast, Update

I’ve had a busy day at the Center for Gaming Research. First, I interviewed Rick Santoro, security consultant, and produced the interview into podcast form. The result was the 38 UNLV Gaming Podcast:

Rick Santoro
Santoro is a thirty-year verteran of casino security who has worked executive protection, conducted investigations, and managed security departments for two of the biggest names in the business, Steve Wynn and Donald Trump. In this January 31, 2012 interview, Santoro discusses his career in casino security, issues facing casinos and other public and private sector organizations today, and Interbrief.org, his security/risk management consultancy.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)


It’s a great interview with an expert who really knows his stuff. Santoro worked for Steven Wynn for ten years and Donald Trump for twenty, and shared several stories about his time with both.

I also published the January 2012 Center for Gaming Research Update, which summarizes everything that’s been done at the Center over the past month. With seven reports, one occasional paper, a podcast, and lots more happening, it was a busy month.

UNLV Gaming Podcast 37: Paul Steelman, Part II

I was lucky enough to record part two of my planned two-part UNLV Gaming Podcast interview with Paul Steelman. I’ve posted it to the site and iTunes. Here’s the description:

37-December 20, 2011
Paul Steelman
In this December 20 interview, Sarno Award-winning casino architect Paul Steelman discusses several of his projects, Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, and the future of casino architecture. Part II of II

Listen to the audio file (mp3)


This was a lot of fun to record. Towards the end when Paul was showing me the Steel Pier slideshow things broke down a little and, since you can’t see what he’s showing me, you might be a little in the dark, but I tried to narrate as much as I could. It shows how spontaneous the talk was. There’s a lot of really good material in both interviews.

As I move forward in my quest to get interviews with all of the Sarno Award winners, I’ll say this: Paul has set the bar very high.

Also, as an Atlantic City native I’m both wowed and cheered by his plans for Steel Pier. You get a sneak peak (well, sneak listen) in the interview, and we’ll find out more in a few weeks with the official announcements.

New podcast: Bill Eadington

This morning I had the great pleasure of having a nice conversation with a long-time friend, the University of Nevada Reno’s Dr. Bill Eadington. Luckily for all of us, I recorded it and released it a few hours later as the thirty-third UNLV Gaming Podcast:

33-November 2, 2011
William R. Eadington
In this November 2, 2011 interview following his induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame, Professor Eadington reflects on his career in gaming studies, starting with his youth in Orange County, California, continuing through his decision to pursue a career in economics and his subsequent emphasis on gambling and casinos, and finishing with his thoughts on the future of gaming studies. Among the topics Dr. Eadington discusses are the foundation and development of the International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking, the expansion of gambling in the past decades, and the changes he has seen in the study of gambling over his 40-year career.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

Here’s a little bit of background for you: I’ve known Bill for about 14 years now. Back when I has a history grad student at UCLA doing research into gambling, I naturally stumbled across his work. Then I somehow learned that he was organizing an academic conference that focused on gambling issues. It was the 10th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking, which was being held in Montreal.

At the time, I was in Eric Monkkonen’s (who was also my dissertation chair) seminar, and he’d issued a challenge: if any of us got our paper accepted for publication or presentation via an academic journal/conference, we’d automatically get an A for the class. As it happened I was doing fine with my coursework, but since Eric had offered such a generous prize, I figured that maybe I should give presenting a paper at an academic conference a shot. I applied to the conference and was accepted–I believe that Judy Cornelius waived my conference registration fee in light of my grad student without funding status. I scraped together the money for airfare and a hotel that was considerably less expensive than the conference hotel, wrote my paper, and headed off to Montreal.

I got off the plane pretty wide-eyed, and my eyes got even wider once the conference started. Sitting in on panels with people like Peter A. Griffin and David Spanier was quite a revelation. I also met one of the most idiosyncratic gentlemen and scholars I’ve met yet, Russell Barnhart (Bill talks about him in the interview), who spent a good chunk of one afternoon with me in a Montreal park talking gambling history while giving appreciative looks to the young women out for the spring weather. Quite a character.

Before that conference, gambling history had just been something I was going to write my dissertation on–I was still planning for a career teaching US history, probably with an urban and cultural focus, in a traditional academic department. The conference opened my eyes to the possibility of perhaps making gambling something to study in the long term.

Fast forward three years: it’s 2000 and the ICGRT is being held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I’ve already got my dissertation and, not wanting to bum around LA scraping together adjunct jobs, have gone back to Atlantic City and a job in surveillance at the Trump Taj Mahal. I got a mailer for the ICGRT and convinced my higher-ups at the Taj to give me time off to attend the conference. I’d also printed off a copy of my dissertation on archival quality acid-free paper that I planned to give to UNLV Special Collections, just as a way of ensuring that someday someone might read what seemed like it might be the sole output of my academic career; there weren’t any teaching jobs waiting for me, and I wasn’t really looking for them anymore. This was going to be my scholarly swan song.

But a few things happened to me that week. I stopped by Special Collections to drop off my dissertation and learned that Susan Jarvis, the director of what was then called the Gaming Resource Center, had retired. The Director of Special Collections, Peter Michel, encouraged me to take the job announcement with me. I agreed, even though I didn’t think I was particularly well-suited for that kind of work.

I also introduced myself to and had a long talk with Shannon Bybee, who was then executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. He was generous enough to give supremely thoughtful answers to a bunch of questions about working in and around the industry and working on the academic side.

Thanks to my experiences with Bill, Judy, Shannon, and everyone else I met at the conference, I decided to apply for the UNLV job.

Eleven years later, I’m sitting in my office as Director of the Center for Gaming Research, uploading my talk with Bill, and I realize that, without Professor Eadington’s pioneering work in gaming studies, it’s very, very unlikely that I’d be in that office.

So that’s why I’m both personally and professionally grateful to Bill Eadington. He’s truly one of the giants on whose shoulders the rest of us stand, trying to see just a bit over the horizon. I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it.

UNLV Gaming Podcast 32: Me

As usual, I’m posting a link to the latest UNLV Gaming Podcast. But, for the first time, I’m the one who’s featured.

After getting several requests for video or audio footage of the talks I give around down, I figured that this talk would be a good one to share.

A few weeks ago my dean, Patty Iannuzzi, asked me to give a talk to the Yale Club of Nevada, who were supplemented by members of the Thunderbird Alumni Network and a few others. Dean Iannuzzi asked me to give a talk about what was in store for Las Vegas, and I used a few different sources of data to plot six different scenarios. Basically, at worst gaming revenues are going to decline slightly by 2015, and at best they’ll increase to about $12 billion/year (for Clark County).

Here’s the link to the podcast.

32-October 7, 2011

In this October 6, 2011 talk to the Yale Club of Nevada and other invited guests, Center for Gaming Research director David G. Schwartz looks at where Las Vegas might be headed over the next 5 years and answers questions on a variety of casino-related topics.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

via UNLV Center for Gaming Research: Podcasts.

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the audience and Dean Iannuzzi’s wonderfully gracious introduction–she certainly gave me something to live up to. But I was most pleased by the questions that I got: this was a great group to speak with, and I have the feeling that we could have kept the Q&A going for quite a while longer.

I was also gratified that so many people on Twitter and via email expressed curiosity about what I’m doing and said they wanted to hear the talk. Thanks, everyone.

So if you’re wondering what my talks are like, this is a great example. Depending on the audience the content can change a great deal, but I think you can hear my general approach pretty well here. As Dean Iannuzzi indicated, I’m used to speaking to a variety of audiences, which is one of the parts of what I do I like best. It’s great to have the opportunity to speak in front of diverse groups, not the least because their questions always deepen my understanding of gambling and Las Vegas.

Darryl A. Smith podcast is up

It’s two podcasts in two days at the Center for Gaming Research–when it rains it pours, in a good way. Today, I posted the Gaming Research Colloquium talk given this afternoon by Darryl A. Smith:

Darryl A. Smith, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Pomona College
“’Dark with Excessive Bright’”: Gambling Tells and the Naming Taboo”
Within sacred language the belief has existed that the personal name is an intrinsic part of oneself. As such, its revelation threatens exposure to powers that might undo its bearer. Smith considers the relation between the detection of tells in gambling and that of so-called true names. Strategies of concealment and detection that are basic to both tell-reading and true-naming are explored in relation to post-colonial theory’s insights into using light in order to hide things.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

View flyer (pdf)

UNLV Gaming Podcast

It’s a great academic exploration that ties to together literature, poker, and the Westside of Las Vegas, and one of the most enjoyable talks I’ve heard in a while.

Podcast w/ Lee Amaitis is up

At the opening of the Tropicana’s new Cantor Gaming-run sports book, I had a very interesting conversation with Cantor Gaming President and CEO Lee Amaitis. It was so interesting that I thought I should share it with everyone. So we made an appointment for a sit-down interview, and here it is.

UNLV Gaming Podcast #27
Lee Amaitis, President and CEO, Cantor Gaming
In this interview with CGR Director David G. Schwartz, Amaitis gives a perspective on his career and discusses the current state of sports trading, as well as sharing his thoughts on the future.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

Cantor Gaming

More UNLV Gaming Podcasts

Amaitis says some intriguing things about where sports betting is heading. It’s particularly noteworthy that he avoids the term “sports betting” and refers to “sports trading,” suggesting a completely different model for the activity. If you’re interested in where gaming and technology are heading in the very near future, you’ve got to listen to this one.

New podcast: Jack Harpster talks about Si Redd

There’s a new podcast up, available on iTunes and on the UNLV Gaming Podcast page:

23-August 5, 2010
Jack Harpster, Author, King of the Slots: William “Si” Redd
In this interview, Harpster discusses his background and his new book about IGT founder Si Redd.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

Buy the book (Amazon.com)
UNLV Gaming Podcasts

Fun interview to do–I really like talking to authors about their books. If you haven’t seen it, I reviewed the book a few days ago.

If my voice sounds a little shot, it’s because it is. I spent a few hours down at the Star Trek Convention at the Hilton interviewing fans, vendors, and several others over the din of the vendors’ room. I met some really nice people there, though, and learned about a Las Vegas-based start up, The Intergalactic Bartender. They’ve got a particularly interesting story that I’m hoping to write more about. If you’re a Trek fan or just want to see people having a lot of fun (and maybe join in yourself), head down to the Hilton this weekend.

Podcast up: interview with Jack Effel

I spent a few hours down at the World Series of Poker this morning, and came away with one of the best interviews I’ve done yet. It’s now podcast #22 in the UNLV Gaming Podcast Series:

22-June 14, 2010
Jack Effel, Vice President, International Poker Operations and Director, World Series of Poker at Harrah’s Entertainment
In this interview, conducted June 14, 2010, WSOP Director Jack Effel talks about his early interest in poker, the path of his career, and the logistics behind puttng on the World Series of Poker. It’s an extremely informative interview, and a must-listen for anyone interested in how tournament poker works.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

Keep in mind that this is the busiest time of the year for Mr. Effel. I asked for 30 minutes, and would have been happy with 20. I got an hour and fifteen minutes of his insights into the WSOP, for which I’m grateful. If you’re a student of poker, you really have to hear this to believe how great it is.

I’m hoping to set up a few more interviews at the tournament with some of the pros.

New UNLV Gaming Podcast posted

We’ve got a new podcast up over at the Center for Gaming Research: April’s Gaming Research fellow, Theodor Gordon, gives a talk on tribal sovereignty and labor relations at tribal casinos. It’s a great summary of Indian gaming history with plenty of detail about current labor issues. Here’s the abstract:

The impact of tribal casinos on job creation is well documented. However, the increasing employment of non-Indians in tribal casinos creates new cultural and political challenges. What unique workplace anxieties emerge in a tribal casino? How might new tribal labor regulations impinge on tribal self-determination? In this talk, I address these questions through a systematic examination of tribal casino trade publications. By analyzing the language (especially the symbols and metaphors) mobilized by industry insiders as they disseminate strategies to mitigate these challenges, I demonstrate how recent developments in tribal labor relations reflect broader shifts in the boundaries of tribal self-determination.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

View flyer (pdf)

It’s a great talk because it gives you a succinct summary of how Indian casinos developed and explains the labor situation very well. Theodor did a great deal of research during his month in residence, and it shows. The podcast series continues to be one of the real bright spots over at the Center.

New UNLV Podcast: Keith Whyte

From an interview recorded last week comes this week’s UNLV Gaming Podcast:

This podcast features an interview with the Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling recorded March 25, 2010 at the Nevada State Conference on Problem Gambling, held at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.. Whyte talks about how he become interested in problem gambling treatment and advocacy and the current state of problem gambling research.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

National Councl on Problem Gambling website

Quick self-test: Pathological Gambling Criteria

The interview was a real eye-opening (or ear-opener in this case), particularly when Keith talked about how the field’s changed and its current emphasis on neuroscience.

Always, you can subscribe to the UNLV Gaming Podcast on iTunes or visit the podcast page.