June 9, 2016   Thursday

Today I was pleased to speak at a conference put on by UNLV, where I taught the pioneer course “Casino Operations and Management” for a decade. I pioneered the world’s first university-level course in casino management during the 1970s, and UNLV now offers a Masters Degree in this field.

The UNLV International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking was held at the Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip. There were more than 600 attendees from 31 countries and hundreds of organizations. I was on a panel with Jon Ralston, who hosts a nightly political talk show on the Las Vegas and Reno PBS stations, and Chris Sieroty, who was with the Las Vegas Review Journal and now works for Gambling Compliance in Washington D.C. The Moderator was Dmitri Shalin, who is Professor and Director of the UNLV Center for Democratic Culture.

The topic of our panel was “Media, Gambling, and Community Relations in Las Vegas.” The other two panelists discussed current events, and I gave the historical perspective about what the Prohibition gangsters who built the Las Vegas Strip were actually like, and how they interacted with the townspeople and gaming control. I detailed the realities of these gangsters’ lives and the specific risks that are inherent in gangsterism, based on my 50 years of researching them.

I was also asked to give my perspective on Dr. Bill Eadington who founded this conference and headed the Gaming Institute at UNR. I talked about how he inspired me in my career endeavors and what a wonderful human being he was. He wrote a Preface for my book “Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition” and then had his Institute publish it. A second Preface was written by Shannon Bybee, who headed the Gaming Institute at UNLV. I reciprocated years later by writing the Preface for Shannon’s final book about the most important documents he produced during his career that was published by UNLV. I was in close contact with both men as long as they lived, and both men were outstanding mentors who always encouraged me in my efforts.