3
Oct

BOARDWALK PLAYGROUND is now available

bp_150The day has arrived: Boardwalk Playground, my latest book, is now available for purchase via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This book started as a series of columns for Casino Connection magazine, and I have edited, updated, and supplemented those original columns to bring the story up to date. Unlike my earlier books, this one isn’t just about gambling or casinos–there are 124 years of non-casino history in Atlantic City that take up most of the book.

You can visit the Boardwalk Playground site to read more about the book, or just head over to Amazon, which will have more info and, hopefully soon, some customer reviews.

The book is also available for Kindle, and will be on other ebook platforms (iBook, Nook, Kobo) in a few months. This time, I’m trying out the Kindle Select program, which requires that the ebook be exclusive to Kindle. Once the Kindle version is well established, I will make it available on other platforms.

I’d like to thank everyone who got the book this far, particularly my Kickstarter backers. Thank you for helping me do what I love.

29
Apr

LVCVA Visitor Study Reveals Who’s Really Coming to Town – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I look at the numbers in this year’s LVCVA Visitor Profile Survey:

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently released its 2015 visitor profile study. This report, based on interviews with Vegas visitors, charts the behavioral and demographic shifts in the population of those who come to town. The results for this year raise more questions than they answer. Read more: LVCVA Visitor Study Reveals Who’s Really Coming to Town – Vegas Seven

This is always quite a source of numbers. It is fascinating to see how visitation is shifting.

21
Apr

A Community Garden Takes Root – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I wrote about one of my favorite places, the Vegas Roots Community Garden:

Urban farming is on the rise across the country. School, community, backyard and even rooftop farms and gardens are becoming more prominent in American cities from New York to Los Angeles. Las Vegas has its own urban agriculture pioneer, Rosalind Brooks.

More: A Community Garden Takes Root – Vegas Seven

This was a lot of fun to write. You should definitely check the garden out and, if you are a local business, think about sponsoring a plot.

14
Apr

Moulin Rouge Rebirth? – Vegas Seven

My latest Green Felt Journal is a brief look at a group that is proposing a revival of the fabled Moulin Rouge on Las Vegas’s Westside:

That interest, though, never translated into meaningful action, which leads us to 2016. Scott Johnson, president of Moulin Rouge Holdings LLC, is committed to change on the Westside. His family has owned small businesses in the area for more than a half-century. Born in Arkansas, he’s been in Las Vegas for 30 years. But why take on the Moulin Rouge? Read more: Moulin Rouge Rebirth? – Vegas Seven

As I discuss in the articles, over the years there have been numerous attempts to first reopen and, lately, rebuild the Moulin Rouge. Here’s hoping that this one happens.

7
Apr

Why T-Mobile Arena Is a Game Changer – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Vegas Seven, I have a feature story that puts the just-opened T-Mobile Arena into historical context:

Casinos that followed—from the Hotel Last Frontier to the Tropicana—included dinner theaters as a matter of course; they were as necessary to a complete resort as rooms and gaming tables. This classic Las Vegas venue blossomed fully in the Sands’ Copa Room. Other theaters hosted plenty of stars, but the Copa distilled everything Las Vegas of the 1950s and 1960s stood for into an intimate, 385-seat space. It opened along with the rest of the Sands in December 1952 with a show featuring Danny Thomas, and would go on to host many of the day’s hottest casino attractions, most famously the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. defined an era of Vegas cool.

Read more: Why T-Mobile Arena Is a Game Changer – Vegas Seven

In the article, I tried to relate how each of the “milestone” venues that I discuss represented, in its own way, its era. Looking at history helped me appreciate that so much about the T-Mobile Arena–from the emphasis on luxury to paid parking–spells out just where Las Vegas is today.

It’s easy to be wowed (or annoyed) by all of the coverage of the arena’s opening. But when that PR press has ended, what’s left? I know that researching this article raised plenty of questions for me. I hope that reading it inspires more questions, and maybe a few answers.

1
Apr

A Winning Parlay – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the place of sports betting and DFS in Las Vegas. It’s growing:

In the throes of March Madness, sports betting is just about omni-present in Las Vegas. States across the nation are legalizing daily fantasy sports. Locally, speculation about possible NHL tenants of the T-Mobile Arena or the wisdom of building a UNLV stadium that may host an NFL team is dominating much conversation. That makes this a good time to consider the evolving relationship between Las Vegas and sports betting.

More: A Winning Parlay – Vegas Seven

I just had a nice chat on Twitter about my $760 million number. It’s just a guess, based on Nevada, of what US commercial casinos might make from sports betting when the market is mature. That is assuming that the rest of the country has the same proportion of sports betting/overall casino win as Nevada.

You could argue that the percentage would be lower, since Nevada has a high proportion of visitors who bet and people who move to Las Vegas to pursue legal sports betting. Nevada might not be a great model for the percentage of sports bettors in the overall US population. So maybe, nationally, the percentage is less than 2% of total gaming win.

Or you could say that with the opportunity to bet legally regularly, more Americans would be drawn to sports betting, in which case the number may be higher than 2%.

So the $760 million is just a projection of the current Nevada number, which may or may not be an accurate estimate of a national market. But it’s as good a number as any to start the conversation.

17
Mar

How to Prepare for Emerging Gaming Today – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I expand a little on my testimony in front of the Gaming Policy Committee:

During a meeting convened by Governor Brian Sandoval earlier this month, the task before the Gaming Policy Committee was clear: Figure out how Nevada can adapt to emerging gaming—a sprawling, shifting area that, right now, comprises three main groups: daily fantasy sports (DFS), skill gaming and e-sports—without compromising its reputation as the “gold standard” of gaming regulation. The stakes are high: Failure to adjust quickly may mean that the state’s gaming industry goes the way of faro table manufacturers.

More: How to Prepare for Emerging Gaming Today – Vegas Seven

I could have written a few thousand more words on this. Gaming is (I think) in the not-so-early stages of a historic shift. Just look at how the bigger category of games has changed in the past 20 years. I’m interested in seeing how board game sales, for example, have fared, and how home “gaming” (in the broadest sense) has changed since the introduction first of consoles, then PC, then mobile games.

3
Mar

Embracing eSports Isn’t Such a Bad Idea for Casinos – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I get to share what I’ve learned about the burgeoning place of esports in Las Vegas:

The IS-7 thunders over the rubble of a ruined cottage just as a T110E5 comes crashing through the trees. They simultaneously fire on the Spahpanzer Ru 251, which is rocked by explosions but manages to hang on. As the attackers reload, the Ru 251 wheels backward, searching for cover. But an SU-152 is waiting to deliver the kill shot. In a fiery blast, the Ru 251 ceases to exist.

Source: Embracing eSports Isn’t Such a Bad Idea for Casinos – Vegas Seven

This was a real education for me. I’ve got to say that I’ve found BattleViewer.com to be absolutely compelling viewing. It’s amazing how quickly I get invested in the matches. It’s nice to see casinos starting to embrace esports groups.

 

18
Feb

The Future of Las Vegas Transportation – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the future of transportation in the “core” of Las Vegas:

Today, Las Vegas gladly welcomes 42 million-plus visitors each year. But there’s one more guest who has been showing up too much lately: gridlock.

Read more:The Future of Las Vegas Transportation – Vegas Seven

In some ways, Las Vegas is a victim of its own success here. As it is able to convince more visitors to vacation here, moving them around becomes progressively more difficult. I’m very interested to see what kinds of solutions actually are enacted.

4
Feb

2015 Casino Report Card – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the meaning of the 2015 Nevada casino numbers. How did the state’s gaming industry do last year?

Overall, it was a year that showed the continuing transition in Nevada gaming. Read more: 2015 Casino Report Card – Vegas Seven

It really was a continuation of 2014, with slight growth statewide and a slight decline on the Las Vegas Strip–despite record visitation numbers and higher overall spending. It’s not really news anymore to say that non-gaming is growing while gaming really isn’t (on the Strip, at least), but it’s worth repeating, since it gives some of the developments on the Strip context.

21
Jan

Check-In Kiosks Represent the Latest Evolution in Hospitality – Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at why you might be checking into Caesars properties at a kiosk, and what it means:

Yet times have changed. If you are one of the 42 million plus who come to Las Vegas each year, you can’t help but be aware that the city doesn’t act like it’s here only to make your wishes come true. Traffic. Hustlers, costumed and otherwise, on the sidewalks. Resort fees. And the inescapable fact that you’re not the only one looking to have a good time: Even in a smallish Strip resort, you are one of thousands of very special, very important people, each of you needing what you need right now. Obviously, you’re not all going to get it when you want it.

Read more: Check-In Kiosks Represent the Latest Evolution in Hospitality – Vegas Seven

This is a pretty big investment in technology for Caesars, and so far it looks like guests are using it. Skipping the line should be way more convenient, at the very least.