In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a (very brief) look back at the legacy of the Cabazon decision:
February 25, 1987, was a milestone date for gambling in America. On that day, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, a verdict that paved the way for the rapid expansion of casino gambling on tribal lands in the decades to follow. Thirty years on, the Court’s decision still reverberates throughout the casino industry and Las Vegas.
Read more: 30 Years of Tribal Gaming – Vegas Seven
This is the topic for a few books, so it’s by no means comprehensive, but I thought that the anniversary was a good time to reflect on tribal gaming and Las Vegas.
Not to fear. Yes, I talked about the past seven years of casinos in Vegas Seven this week. Yes, I began with a scenario from the book of Exodus. But no, I have not abandoned talking about gambling for a career in Biblical exegesis. This was just my way of trying to think more deeply about what the last seven years mean:
…this hasn’t turned into a soul-seeking tract. I only want to remind you how deep the idea of economic cycles runs in us. We understand that there will be good years and bad years, and that if we fail to plan ahead, the bad years will be tragic. If Biblical wisdom doesn’t do that for you, next time I’ll talk about Kondratiev waves.
Read on: Seven Year Switch: How Las Vegas Hospitality Has Changed – Vegas Seven
So it all seems good, but I’m not content to say “the Recession is over!” and leave it at that. As I discuss towards the end of the article, there is some evidence building that more fees has slowed or even halted revenue growth in other areas. It’s not a concern this quarter, but someday, it might be.
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I dwell (hopefully not excessively) on what less human interaction might mean for Las Vegas:
Hospitality is labor-intensive. It takes many hands to create the Las Vegas experience, from housekeeping to meal service. But perhaps that human touch won’t be needed at all someday. Two recent developments in autonomous technology and artificial intelligence will have profound meaning for Las Vegas hospitality.
Read more: What the Future of Tech and AI Looks Like for Las Vegas – Vegas Seven
I think that both developments–driverless vehicles and, more broadly, hospitality automation and AI–will be far more disruptive than most people think. Automating beverage service,which is already underway with the “standardization” of pours, will save money in the short term, but what are the long-term possibilities?
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.
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.
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.
In this week’s Vegas Seven, I’ve got a cover feature on the 50 years of Caesars Palace:
Caesars Palace has always been more than the sum of its parts. Yes, it’s just a place where people pay for rooms, eat dinner, watch shows and gamble. But there remains something compelling about the property. It may no longer be the highest-grossing on the Strip, and as of 2016 it still isn’t the oldest, but it might just be the most successful.
Read more : An Empire Like No Other – Vegas Seven
I also have two sidebars connected with the story:
Modern-Day Gladiators about fight nights at Caesars Palace.
The Birth of a Brand about how Caesars became a marketing juggernaut.
Reading the VegasTripping review of the new Julius Tower rooms, I was struck by the art. So I wrote my latest Green Felt Journal about it:
Usually, hotel room art at best presents a regional accent; at worst, it says nothing and moves no one. For the creatives at KNA Design, the distinctly Caesars touch was essential.
Read more: Caesars’ Room Art Gives Guests Something to Gawk At – Vegas Seven
This was a lot of fun to write. It’s fascinating to learn how much thought goes into room design.
This week’s Green Felt Journal is a night in the life of an esports lounge in a Las Vegas casino. In other words, exactly what I thought I’d be writing about when I went to graduate school. I love that this is a concept that you might not be able to explain if you time traveled back to the 1960s, just like you couldn’t explain a craps pit if you traveled back a little further:
A bunch of millennials playing video games on a Saturday night in Las Vegas. Not too long ago, that might have been a casino operator’s nightmare. But in the last few months and with accelerating velocity, competitive video game playing—e-sports, as it is best known—has become a reality, just steps away from roulette wheels and slot machines. Read more: E-sports Start to Take Hold of Casinos’ Imaginations – Vegas Seven
I think that this is a compelling story for casinos and will continue to be for a long time.
From this week’s Green Felt Journal:
Last year, I wrote that locals gaming was on the rebound (“Locals Casinos Are Back in Business,” July 8). At the time, several indicators suggested it was in the midst of a resurgence after several rough years. Its revival has become even more apparent thanks to recent moves by two locals giants. Read more: Betting on Locals – Vegas Seven
Since I wrote that, Red Rock bought the Palms, which answers the question “what next” in the short term. Long term, I would expect to see more expansion from both companies.