How Las Vegas Influenced American Architecture

From the very inception of Las Vegas, it flew in the face of longstanding conventions, yet is has continued to survive and avoid fizzling out as a passing trend. The city is a true hub of innovation that spans all industries and disciplines, including architecture. While most people probably wouldn’t think of the city as a design marvel, it achieved something truly spectacular that has continued to serve as a model of city planning. The popularity of Las Vegas has also provided valuable insights into what people actually like when it comes to aesthetics.  These factors have put a lasting mark on American culture and changed the trajectory of architecture. In this post, we will take a closer look at just how all this came about.

In the early 1960s, Modernism had taken over and designers were gravitating towards sleek and minimalist buildings that could be cheaply constructed using concrete, steel and glass. They were rejected the frills that defined many classic buildings. This movement was so sweeping that it didn’t just affect new builds. Many architects were pushing to have old buildings torn down and replaced with new modern alternatives. There was little appreciation for the historic significance of existing architecture or what it might teach us.

Las Vegas: An Anti-Modernism Haven

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, construction was continuing to ramp up and they clearly couldn’t care less about Modernism. From signs to buildings, Las Vegas was all about big, bright and bold. They weren’t trying to limit frills. They were trying to add as many as possible. An entire city, that didn’t feel bound by traditional rule of architecture, was rising up out of the desert.

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Example of modernism architecture.

Architects tended to scoff at the city and consider it an ostentatious mess, Denise Scott Brown recognized that there were important lessons to be learned from Las Vegas. As a young architect, she was immediately drawn to the city and it didn’t take long to recognize that Las Vegas had actually done a tremendous job in city planning. More and more Americans owned their own cars and the wide roads along the strip were driver friendly. In addition, all the large, garish signs actually achieved a bigger purpose: They were perfect way-finding tools that helped draw in customers. Las Vegas was incredibly functional in a way that most big cities weren’t.

Build it and They Will Come

Modernism also seemed to be quite short-sighted in the way it viewed how people interacted with their buildings. Essentially, people who were using these common spaces had no say in whether they like Modernism or if they preferred more classic design. Architects were hired, plans were made and new buildings were constructed. The actual occupants had little say in the matter. Although, if foot traffic is any indication, Americans preferred the glam and glitz of Las Vegas. Even back then, people were flocking to the city. Today, it hosts tens of millions of visitors, which is more than other iconic cities like Paris.

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In 1972, the book Learning from Las Vegas was published and architects were forced to rethink their support of Modernism. This seminal work was written by Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour and gave rise to a period of Postmodernism. Through their work, they made the argument that buildings should be designed with a  purpose in mind while also considering the types of places people love. Their ideas took hold and buildings became better tools for the public.

The Next Phase of Vegas Architecture

While Learning from Las Vegas and the architecture of 1960s Las Vegas was certainly influential on a massive scale, this movement also eventually died out. Another defining characteristic of Las Vegas is that it is always in a state of change. This ability to remain flexible and meet the needs of new and emerging customers have been at the heart of its survival. It also means that casinos are often destroyed and rebuilt again to reflect the times.

Today, world-class architects are being hired to appeal to Millennials who enjoy urban spaces. These casinos will surely succumb to future trends as Las Vegas continues to be a shape shifting and incredibly influential city. If you want to see the future of architecture, Las Vegas may be the place to look. No other city is quite as daring or equally geared towards innovation in all its forms.

Must-See Buildings in Las Vegas

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

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This building was designed by the famous Frank Gehry and is a perfect example of his unique style. The building looks like something out of a fairy tale and is a truly impressive feat of design and architecture even if you aren’t a fan.  It features swooping metal arcs and rooms that appear to be melting into one another. The interior is even more mind-boggling, yet also super efficient and functional since this building hosts patients.

El Cortez Hotel and Casino

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If you are interested in seeing parts of Las Vegas that have survived countless rebirths, then be sure to visit the El Cortez Hotel and Casino, which opened in 1941 and holds the record of being the longest running casino. It showcases the Spanish revival style that can be see in other parts of the city.

The Luxor Hotel and Casino

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If you have never visited Las Vegas before, there are any number of impressive hotels and casinos along the strip. One of the more classic landmarks is the Luxor, which is built to replicate the Egyptian pyramids and incorporates several architectural styles. It also provides a great photo opportunity.

Las Vegas is much more than bright lights and gambling. It is a city with a rich history that has influenced the way the rest of America thinks about architecture and designing cities. Looking forward, it continues to serve as an incubator for innovative ideas that include everything from cutting-edge software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to gaming stadiums that are changing how people compete and socialize. The city serves as a good example of what can happen if you don’t fee limited by conventions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of Casinos in Las Vegas

The new year is just around the corner and it is that time of year when everyone starts to reflect on the past and look forward to the potential of the coming year. Over the past twelve months, we have spent a lot of time looking at major happenings in the casino industry and thinking about what these changes might mean for the future. With so much going on, it is easy to lose sight of exactly how far the industry has come in just under a century. That is why now seems like the perfect time to take a look back at the evolution of American’s largest gambling and casino destination: Las Vegas.

Las Vegas before the Lights

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Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. Before that time, it was just a hot, dry, desolate and unforgiving stretch of desert. There was nothing in the way of resources or business to attract settlers, so it remained largely wild and only really known to cowboys. In 1905, the Salt Lake, Los Angeles and San Pedro railroad began construction in the area. This project was meant to connect main rail arteries with ports along the Pacific Ocean and it brought in a rush of workers who inevitably wanted some entertainment to keep them occupied while they toiled away in the desert. An influx of men into the area gave rise to gambling, speakeasies and brothels. It truly was the wild west and if you were looking for a little work and some trouble, Las Vegas had it all.

Early on, there were some efforts by the state to try and control what was happening in Las Vegas. In 1910, Nevada outlawed gambling, but this did little to actually dissuade people from losing their paycheck at a game of cards. For workers, it wasn’t hard to find a nearby speakeasy where they could grab a drink and try their luck at gambling. By 1931, gambling was once again legal in the state and organized crime was already setting up shop. Over the next two decades, the city and what would come to be known as “the strip” was attracting millions of visitors a year.

The first Las Vegas building boom began with the El Rancho Vegas in 1941. This was this first casino and resort that included 63 hotel rooms. Most of the early resorts adopted an old west theme that spoke to the early roots of the area, but in 1946, mobster Bugsy Siegel introduced a new vision for Las Vegas that is still alive and well today. He wanted to inject the city with a whole new level of luxury and sophistication. His Flamingo hotel was the first to go beyond themed resorts and offer a more swankier destination that felt a lot more like Hollywood. Other resorts quickly followed suit and the strip became a destination for tourists, performers, celebrities and the rich elite.

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Part of the success of these early resorts was their ability to attract immensely popular performers, such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. While Siegel was murdered in 1947, his new Las Vegas had already gained momentum and the 1950s and 60s saw tremendous growth and the grand opening of legendary properties, such as the Sands, the Sahara, the Riviera and the New Frontier.

Las Vegas Enters a New Era

In 1966, the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes checked into the Desert Inn and decided he didn’t want to leave. To him, the solution was simple: buy the hotel. And while he was at it, he bought up a few other hotels. At first, these purchases just seemed like the whim of an extremely rich and unpredictable man, but his investments ushered in a new era where business men and conglomerates would take over the city and the mob would be pushed out. At that point, it practically became a contest to see who could build the biggest, most luxurious resort on the strip.

Steve Wynn is credited with building the first mega-resort in 1989, which that set the bar for other developers. When the Mirage first opened its doors, it was the largest hotel in the world with 3,044 rooms. The design would be copied by other Vegas resorts, including Mandalay Bay and Treasure Island. It was also the first resort to host Siegfried and Roy and Cirque du Soleil.

The Great Recession Hits Las Vegas

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Before the Great Recession, the Las Vegas housing market was one of the hottest in the country. Housing prices were up 80% and then the housing bubble burst and Nevada became the state with the highest number of foreclosures as more people became underwater on their homes. Those who had come to Las Vegas to work on home and casino construction jobs could no longer afford to live and across the country, people simply didn’t have the money for a Vegas vacation. Banks began restricting lending and huge resort development projects came to a screeching halt. It was a tough time for the city and the industry, but things have bounced back and we are well into a significant period of growth and construction with new casinos popping up all over the country.

Today’s casinos are a far cry from those lonely and dusty western themed casinos in the middle of no where. Modern resorts are more sophisticated, luxurious and cutting edge than ever before. If you want a taste of the future and how technology will influence out lives, all you have to do is look to Las Vegas. The casinos have been some of the first to adopt software management tools, like Casino Schedule Ease, embrace online gaming as a live spectator sport and incorporate automated technology into their daily operations. Just take a look at The Tipsy Robot where your drinks are made by robots.

Over the past decades, casinos have managed to weather legal issues, recessions and other challenges and continue to lead with innovative solutions that meet the changing demands of customers. Looking towards 2019, other industries may want to take a closer look at the history of Las Vegas and how it is survived and influenced growth in other markets around the country. There are clearly some important lessons to be learned.

 

How to Be a Better Casino Manager

Working in a casino is a fast paced and challenging career. If you are a part of the management team, then you are also faced with a set of challenges that are unique to the industry. In this post, we will look at ways you can improve your management skills and use available tools to provide a better work environment. For those who are looking to develop professionally and be a better casino manager, here are some tips that can help you succeed.

Start with a Strong Team

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Taking your time during the recruitment process can make your job as a manager a lot easier. When it comes to casinos, it may be more difficult to find people with direct experience. While prior experience is a plus, it is even more important to search for candidates with the right set of qualities. The right employee will learn quickly, gladly take on new challenges and adapt easily. Instead of focusing too much on job history, look for people with these qualities:

  • Self-motivated. Once an employee learns the ropes, you want to be able to trust them to get the job done and show initiative. These types of employees will be problem solvers and require less of your attention.
  • Positive attitude. Having a positive attitude doesn’t necessarily mean a bubbly, out going personality. It does mean positively contributing to a pleasant work environment. You want people who are willing to admit mistakes and quickly regroup and who don’t spend time complaining and bringing down employee morale.
  • Flexible. Casinos require a lot of moving parts to operate smoothly. For employees, this means opportunities to take on new challenges and support other staff members when the need arises. You want employees who are willing to work outside their job title and who are interested in moving up in the company.
  • Dependable. As a manager, the last thing you want to do is have to constantly follow-up with employees to make sure that certain tasks have been completed. This can be a huge time suck. Look for employees that have demonstrated dependability so that you can rest assured that jobs are being completed on time and correctly.

Lead by Example

As a manager, you aren’t simply in charge of delegating work and making sure everyone is doing their job. You are also a leader and your employees will look to you as an example of how to act. Leading by example also helps you earn their trust and work better as a team. If you want to be an effective leader you need to:

  • Work alongside your team. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, pitch in when necessary and show everyone that you know the ins and outs of their position.
  • Show everyone respect. Belittling employees is a surefire way to sabotage your team. Be careful with your words and handle problems in a private and professional manner.
  • Be open to feedback. Your team will be the first to know if a certain process or procedure simply isn’t working or if there is a better way to do things. Listen to their ideas and don’t be afraid to take receive feedback.
  • Avoid micromanaging. No one wants someone constantly looking over their shoulder. Clearly communicate goals and objectives and let your employees do their thing. Given a certain amount of freedom, you might be surprised to see them come up with innovative ideas that improve the workplace.

Proactively Seek out New Tools

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Don’t just be open to new ideas, but go the extra mile to find new tools that can help your team perform better. Technology and innovation are rapidly advancing, which means that there are constantly new ideas, software programs and management tools available on the market. From communication platforms and professional development programs, there are plenty of solutions on the market that can streamline processes and offer new learning opportunities for both employees and management.

Casino Schedule Ease is just one example of such technology. This scheduling platform has been especially designed to address the needs of the casino industry and simplify the scheduling process. Using this technology, casino managers can more easily tackle the challenges of staffing a gaming table, restaurants, bars and other areas of the casino that run on a 24-hour schedule. Employees can be placed according to their strengths and personal preferences while also easily requesting time off through the portal. Incorporating these type of tools into the workplace demonstrates a willingness to support employees and provide an optimal work environment.

Be an Effective Communicator

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Clear communication is at the heart of any successful project or team. You need to be able to clearly relay goals and expectations to your employees. It is all too easy for frustrations to grow when signals have been crossed or employees feel like they aren’t being kept in the loop or held to obvious expectations.

Keep in mind that being a good communicator also means providing clear paths for communication. Start by putting processes in place so that employees know exactly what to do if they need to request a day off, share an idea, file a complaint, etc. This can streamline communication and empower employees to take action as needed.

Be a Motivator

Your employees are looking to you for leadership. They want to see that you are both motivated to succeed and ensure their success. It is up to you to set the right tone, keep morale high and make sure that everyone is motivated. This can also entail providing incentives in the form of financial compensation, recognition or opportunities to advance. The key is to understand what motivates your employees and reward them when they perform well and exceed expectations.

As a casino manager, it is important that you continue to stay on top of industry trends while also sharpening your own skills. The more time you invest into becoming a better leader and fostering relationships with your employees, the better your business will run. The right management style will also help retain loyal employees and build an experienced team. Implementing just a few of these tips can make a big difference.

November Casino News Wrap-Up

Over the last year, the legalization of sports betting has dominated the news across the casino and gambling industries. This major milestone is on-track to transform the way casinos do business and the way states regulate gambling. While many are gearing up for big changes that will continue to unfold over the coming months, there have been plenty of other developments in the casino industry that might not have caught your attention. In this post, we will look at some of the major stories that have been overlooked and what they could mean as we look forward to another year in the gaming world.

Is the Casino Industry Too Saturated?

We have been covering a lot of new casino openings in the US and around the world, but could the construction boom be hitting a ceiling? Atlantic City is continuing to enjoy a resurgence and investors are betting that the boom will continue. Locations in New York State and the southwest are also expanding existing casinos and breaking new ground, but there are some signs in Mississippi that the market may have reached a point of saturation.

On November 28th, Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that it would be closing the Tunica Roadhouse Casino. The company may have overestimated the demand for gambling in the local market. Tunica is already home to seven other casinos, including the Caesars Horseshoe Tunica location. The drive to build and compete might have clouded the company’s judgement when it came to understanding the limitations of the local market. Ultimately, the casino is the smallest in the area and 150 workers will be affected. Considering the size of other locations, this is a relatively small blow, but it could be an early indication that casinos may want to focus on the success of existing locations and not get too far ahead of the game with new construction.

Philadelphia on Schedule for 2020 Opening of New Casino

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While certain areas have reached market saturation, other cities are going full-steam ahead with projects. The Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia is a $700 million casino and hotel project that is underway in the city’s stadium district where the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers all play. Over the past decade, Philadelphia has seen other major casino projects fall apart at the last minute. Even this project has seen its share of roadblocks, but with demolition and construction permits in hand, it looks like this casino will become a reality. The location means that the casino has the potential to be a part of a truly unique entertainment destination that could bring big revenue to the city and the state.

Virginia Makes Bid to Open First Full-Scale Casino

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As gambling continues to expand in states where it is already legal, more states are looking to capture their own portion of the pie. Most recently, Virginia lawmakers are expected to share more details about their plan to introduce a bill to the legislature that would open the door to building a $150 million casino resort and hotel in Bristol. While the plan is still in the early stages, initial estimates expect that the casino would add 2,000 jobs in the first year and make an economic impact of $1.9 billion for the entire state.

Historically, Virginia has staunchly rejected the legalization of gambling in the state, but recent developments may turn the tide. The legalization of sports gambling and the opportunity for big revenue has softened resistance from some opponents. Perhaps more importantly, the federal government recently ruled that the Pamunkey Tribe could open a casino in the state. Virginia won’t be able to collect any tax revenue from this new casino, so they are looking for ways to enter the market and get their own share of profits.

While the bill has yet to be introduced to the legislation, it looks current events have created the most favorable environment so far for those looking to legalize gambling in Virginia. Developers have already chosen the abandoned Bristol Mall as the new site. Many local residents would love to see something done with this vacant building. If everything goes according to plan, new gambling laws would go into affect in July of 2019 and construction would begin immediately.

Wynn Resorts Tries to Win over Everett, MA

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In 2011, Massachusetts passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which allowed for up to three commercial casinos to open in the state. MGM Springfield opened in 2018 and Encore Boston Harbor, a Wynn Resorts project, is schedule to open in June of 2019. (The final license may not be issued for some time while the state waits to see if a third casino would create too much competition.) In recent months, the casino has come under fire and faced accusations of federal racketeering that implicate mob involvement in the project. Wynn resorts has denied any illegal activity and characterizes the accusations as retribution from a competitor who was unsuccessful in securing the gambling license.

While it remains to see if anything comes of the pending lawsuit, Wynn Resorts has been faced with a public relations problem. In an effort to connect with community and demonstrate a commitment to make a positive impact, the company announced that it would donate $10 million over the next four years to local social programs. A committee will be established to help choose which programs receive funding. This gesture may help ease any negative affect recent lawsuits have had on the reception of the impending casino.

As more states legalize gambling and casino construction continues to ramp up around the country, increased competition will require casinos to operate smarter and more efficiently then ever before. This means being proactive about catering to the evolving needs of a new generation of customers and implementing the latest management software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to provide a superior customer experience. These operational factors will play a larger role in the success of casinos as consumers have more and more options when it comes to gambling. If market saturation becomes a more widespread problem over the next decade, only the best run casinos will survive.

 

Major Investments in the Casino Industry are Underway

A strong economy in 2018 has translated into a strong year for casinos and resorts. People have more disposable income and feel confident that they can spen a little money and not have to worry quite so much about hoarding it away for a rainy day. As a result, there have been some major sales and spending projects announced in the last few weeks by entertainment companies. As the economy continues to thrive, we can expect to see more construction, expansion and upgrades to casinos across the country. Here are some of the most notable recent events that signal casinos and consumers are ready to spend.

Dan Gilbert Sells Greektown Casino

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The Greektown casino in downtown Detroit was supposed to serve as a centerpiece of the city’s revitalization during the 2000s. When the casino first opened its doors in 2007, it initially drew in curious crowds from the suburbs, but the casino had difficulty turning a profit in the long-term. Part of the problem was that there simply weren’t any other businesses and restaurants in the area to help support the casino. It was a stand alone destination in a city that was struggling with crime and a dismal economy.

By 2013, the casino had undergone bankruptcy reorganization and  was purchased by Rock Gaming, which is owned by Quicken Loans and multi-billionaire, Dan Gilbert. In recent years, Detroit has experienced significant growth that began with small business setting up shop and eventually led to big investors taking on larger projects. This has been good news for everyone, including casinos. Despite this, Greektown Casino has a current debt of about $400 million.

To address debt issues and free up money to invest in other projects, Dan Gilbert sold the casino for $1 billion to Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties. On the surface, this sale may look like a sign of trouble, but ultimately, it may be a good thing for Gilbert, Detroit and the Greektown Casino.

Gilbert plans to use the money from the casino sale to invest in other projects throughout Detroit. These projects will create new jobs, attract new residents and bring in visitors. This influx of people into the city means a greater demand for food and entertainment.

New leadership may also be the thing to help turn the casino around and help make it profitable. With the right strategy, the new investors will be able to capitalize on the healthy economy, consumer confidence and a major metropolitan area that is experiencing newfound prosperity and growth.

Harrah’s to Get Major Facelift

Just over ten years ago, Atlantic City looked like it was on its last leg. Half of the city’s casinos shut down after revenue dropped by 50% and 10,000 employees were let go. This lead to a home foreclosures an exodus that left the city limping along and looking back fondly on the good old days.

Not many could have predicted the turnaround that has happened over the past ten years. The city is humming with new construction and casinos are experiencing unprecedented revenue growth. In August, gaming revenue for the state was up 24.13% over the same month last year. The legalization of sports betting is helping to propel these numbers, but casinos were already experiencing double-digit growth percentages in the months before sports betting was introduced.

While there are projects underway all over the city, Harrah’s is the latest to announce a major upgrade. Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation is planning a $56 million renovation project that will focus on improving rooms in the Coastal Tower. The entire project should be completed by the summer of 2019 and offer modernized rooms that cater to business people who need access to high-speed internet and other technology.

This upgrade is just the latest project from the company. In recent years, they have spent a total of $250 million building on new construction and upgrades that include the Waterfront Conference Center and the addition of the Gordon Ramsey Steak restaurant.

Choctaw Casino and Resort Expands … Again

Investments in casino and resorts haven’t been limited to major gambling hubs. The Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma just announced their latest expansions project, which happens to be the fourth since the casino opened in 2006. This latest project will add a 1,000 room hotel, lounge bar, conference facilities, restaurants and much more. Perhaps best of all, the expansion is expected to bring over

Casino Stocks Expected to Gain Strength

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In 2017, casino and gaming stocks enjoyed a banner year, which lead experts to predict that 2018 would yield similar, though not quite as drastic, results. Much to everyone’s surprise, leading stocks experienced significant declines with some dropping as much as 30%. These numbers were especially surprising considering the overall strength of the global economy and increases in gaming revenue.

It appears that investors have backed away from gaming stocks because they became skeptical about whether gaming could sustain the same pace of growth. Despite these doubts, the industry has proven that it is still building momentum. With new casino construction projects underway across the world, the rise of esports and the legalization of sports betting in the U.S., 2019 stock investing could end up looking a lot like 2017.

With a booming economy and major investments being made in casinos across the country, 2019 looks like it will be a lucrative year for the industry.  Looking forward to the next twelve months, it will be interesting to see how technology continues to affect the industry and which companies will join the ranks and begin investing in new construction and upgrades. As technology makes managing casinos more efficient and cost-effective, we can expect to see that money fed back into properties for further improvements. It promises to be an exciting time for the entire industry.

To learn more about the role of technology in casinos and the future of the industry, visit Casino Schedule Ease.

A Proposed Casino Raises Age-Old Question about Crime and Gambling

Bristol, Virginia is the latest site of heated protests against casinos and gambling. On October, 21, 2018, hundreds of local citizens gathered for a rally against a proposed casino and convention center. Several churches from around the area sponsored the event and local pastors gave fervent speeches against what they perceive as the slippery slope of gambling. The rally resurrected the age-old question of whether there is an actual relationship between the presence of casinos, gambling and increased crime.  You might be surprised to learn how much of this debate is based in assumptions, deeply held beliefs and emotions that don’t necessarily reflect the facts.

The Case of Bristol, Virginia

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The 550, 000 square-foot Bristol Mall off of Gate City Highway currently sits empty. Local businessmen have proposed turning the space into a resort and casino space complete with a hotel and conference center. In September, the City Council and School Board voted to support the project although it still has to be approved by the state’s General Assembly before construction can begin.

While the casino would make good use of vacant space and provide jobs and revenue to other local businesses, there has been passionate opposition to the project from the religious community. As Pastor Dewey Williams says, “I consider Bristol to be the buckle of the Bible Belt,” and many describe the casino as the devil’s work and view the addition of a casino as an assault on families and the community. They claim that the casino will increase crime, cause in influx of drugs and create gambling addicts. Throughout the years, these same arguments have been used to push back against legalized gambling, but how much truth is there to these claims?

Do Casinos Cause an Increase in Crime?

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On some level, it seems like commonsense that adding a location that offers 24/7 access, serves alcohol and attracts additional people into the area would cause an increase in crime. This logic also aligns with criminology studies that have determined that crime isn’t evenly distributed throughout communities. Instead, it is concentrated in what are known as “hot spots,” which “are often characterized by forbidden or specifically encouraged activities, such as alcohol consumption, in places of public access.” At first glance, a casino appears to meet the definition of a hot spot. In fact, it is a widely held belief that casinos increase crime and this argument has been used time and again at rallies and during legislative debates, but it doesn’t necessarily hold up under closer examination.

The most comprehensive and credible studies on crime and casinos examined trends in Atlantic City before and after the addition of casinos. In 1977, the year before casinos opened, there were 4,391 index offenses. In 1980, that number had jumped to 11,899. While that might seem like a clear indication that casinos increased crime, it doesn’t represent the whole picture. Scholars had to take into consideration the fact that the casinos added 27 million annual tourists to a permanent population of just 38,000 residents. They also compared crime rates of nearby communities during the same time period to determine whether there were more widespread trends. Ultimately, they concluded that “casinos have no direct effect on serious crime in Atlantic City, and that crime has risen due to factors other than the casinos themselves.”

To be fair, these studies were conducted in the 1990s and exclusively looked at crime rates in Atlantic City. The limitations of these early studies are exactly why researchers conducted a more extensive study that was published in 2003. This research compared crime rates of cities with casinos to control cities without legalized gambling facilities. They also took into account pre and post crime statistics in cities with casinos and looked at specific crimes, including: larceny, simple assault, drug violations, etc. The researchers found that “When examining the crime rates adjusted for population at risk, there are no crimes in casino communities that are statistically different from control communities.” As more people enter a certain area, the number of crimes will increase, but in casino locations the crime rate continues to be proportional to the population without any significant differences from similar communities.

Common Misconceptions about Casinos

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Those who are quick to buy into the assumption that casinos cause crime often have a distorted view of what a casino actually entails. For example, the proposed Bristol casino would only dedicate 10% of the space to gambling and games. The vast majority of the complex would be used to house a hotel and convention center along with restaurants and entertainment venues.

Modern casinos are vibrant entertainment centers that provide a variety of amenities that require them to run like well oiled machines. They utilize the latest in gaming, security and employee management technology to create a superior customer experience. It is also important to remember that poor security and crime problems would reflect poorly on the business, so it is in their best interest to go above and beyond to lay to rest any fears about an increased potential for crime.

It is also easy to forget that a casinos have the potential to bring thousands of high-paying jobs to communities that need them the most. Bristol has long been in need of a revitalization and the casino will bring 2,000 jobs in the first year and 5,200 by the seventh year. The developers are billing the casino as a “family friendly resort” that will be locally owned by long-time residents who are “committed making [it] a safe place for all in the region.” Opponents recognize the need for new businesses, but view the casino as a place that will encourage sinful behavior and be a plight on the community.

Ultimately, it is up to each community to decide what is best for them, but it is also important to separate fact from fiction during the decision-making process. The rally in Bristol has once again brought the debate about casinos and crime into the spotlight, but now there is more research than ever to demonstrate that there aren’t any clear and direct correlations between casinos and crime. To learn more about what makes modern casinos tick and how they can offer a superior employment experience, visit Casino Schedule Ease.

 

 

 

Highlights from the 2018 Global Gaming Expo #G2E

The 2018 Global Gaming Expo, otherwise known as G2E, got underway on October 8th, in Las Vegas. While the event opens with the Global Gaming Awards, which honors products, executives, suppliers and other industry notables who are making an impact, the week is also full of informational panels and other events. Participants can explore the floor of the Sands Expo and Convention Center where new games, slots and other casino management tools are being showcased. There is plenty to see and do and with the recent legalization of sports betting, you can be sure that it was a topic on everyone’s tongue. Here are some of the highlights from the first two days of the expo:

Are Casinos Ready for Blockchain?

There are a lot of blockchain enthusiasts around the world who want to explore the marriage of blockchain with gambling and casinos, but frankly, there is a significant knowledge gap about this technology. Businesses aren’t rushing to adopt a new technology that has not been tried and tested on a large scale. The idea of a decentralized banking system also makes some people nervous, but proponents like Jez San, the Founder of FunFair Technologies, thinks that there are huge benefits to be enjoyed for both players and casinos. His goal is to educate audiences at G2E and begin to convince some decision-makers that this avenue is worth exploring. It doesn’t look like casinos are quite ready, but the presence of blockchain discussion panels signals a certain amount of openness to the idea.

Millenials are Bringing Back Skills-Based Games

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At Gamblit Gaming, they deal with a demographic where the average age is 36, which means that they have to adjust to the wants and needs of a younger audience who might not be drawn to traditional slot machines that require little interaction or skill. As a result, the G2E is filled with bright skills-based games that also tap into nostalgic childhood memories of playing early video games like Pac-Man. Designers are also using the popularity of classic games to create Pac-Man and Galaga slot machines, which combine the best of both worlds.

It looks like game designers are also turning to celebrity names, movies and popular TV games shows and mobile games to draw in audiences to their slot machines. Partnerships with names like Deal or no Deal, Mad Max and Doodle Jump all point to a gaming world that is pulling from other markets to bring players familiar content.  This is a great way to tap into media that has an existing audience and provide them with a new, more interactive experience with their favorite brand names.

Rethinking Slot Booths

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Manufacturers are even rethinking the classic slot booth design and experimenting with different cabinet shapes and sizes. The goal is to keep players in their seat for as long as possible and designers are interested to see what design elements draw in and retain players. As you might imagine seating also plays an important role and has been a focus of redesigns. New models feature ergonomic seats that can rumble and move in conjunction with events on the screen for a more immersive experience. While designers understand that these elements influence player’s behaviors, they are still working to pinpoint specifics. The G2E provides the perfect opportunity to gather valuable data and feedback.

Sports Betting Takes Center Stage

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As expected, the big draw to this year’s expo is excitement around the new world of sports betting. Now that the Supreme Court has legalized sports betting, states are in the process of deciding how they want to handle this new revenue source and what kind of regulations need to be put in place. Educational panels, including a keynote address from ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt, have been attracting packed crowds as the experts weigh in on how the industry can and should address this major shift in the industry.

JCM Global used their booth to showcase their software that turns slot machines into a kiosk for sports betting. They are also pushing monitors that display betting odds to casinos and nightclubs. One of the big challenges is that the average person, who may not have any prior experience with sports betting, can be intimidated by the sportsbook and simply stay away because they aren’t sure how to interpret the numbers and place a bet. It is going to be to vendors and manufacturers to make sports betting as accessible as possible if they want to appeal to a larger audience.

A Global Reach

Vendors and manufacturers from around the world flock to Vegas each year for the G2E. It is the perfect opportunity to network, get a feel for where the industry is headed and try out new products. This year, companies from Osaka, Dusseldorf, Sydney and other places throughout the world have met to enjoy the sites and maybe close some deals. With over 400 booths on the expo floor and 26,000 attendees, there is sure to be a diverse crowd that represents a wide swath of the gaming and casino community.

Management Solutions on Display

In addition to games, the event is being used to highlight management software that allows casinos to operate more efficiently and handle a complicated set of needs. Casino Schedule Ease is just one example of how software innovations are helping casinos to reduce their labor costs while also producing better results. This program is designed to help casinos schedule employees throughout the hotels, restaurants and gaming floors that can make up a casino. With a 24/7 operating schedule, it is especially challenging to provide adequate coverage, provide the best possible service and keep employees content. Casino Schedule Ease makes this delicate balance possible, while also free up time for the scheduling manager.

While sports betting continues to dominate the gambling world, there are a lot of other exciting happenings at G2E. You can check out their website and watch videos of all the celebrities, performers and other special guests who are making appearances. In the meantime, we will continue to track new innovations spurred by the expo and bring you the latest news.

 

 

Best Must-See Shows in Las Vegas

Nashville might be the music capital of the country and NYC is home to Broadway, but no one can hold a candle to Las Vegas when it comes entertainment. Guests can experience the best in big name musical acts who have been lured to the city with ongoing residencies along with the world’s premier magicians, acrobats and other performers. If you are still stuck on the idea that Las Vegas is for gamblers, you need to take a closer look at what casinos truly have to offer.

Major Acts with Residencies in Las Vegas

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In 1944, Liberace was the first musical star to be offered a residency in Las Vegas. Based on his success, the idea caught on quickly and was followed by residencies from Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley who performed 837 consecutive sold out shows from 1969 to 1976. After Elvis left the scene, Vegas went through a bit of a slump and wasn’t able to attract the same level of star power. All that changed in 2003 when Celine Dion signed a major contract that allowed her to create a unique show that took full advantage of the latest in staging and technology to provide concert-goers with an unforgettable experience.

Dion’s first residency brought a certain amount of legitimacy and respectability back to the idea of establishing a residency in Las Vegas. She effectively opened the door for other acts to follow suit. As a result, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and others have set up shop in Las Vegas for some period of time.

Here are just some of the major stars that are currently playing in Las Vegas or who have signed contracts to begin a residency:

Lady Gaga

In late 2017, Lady Gaga signed with MGM’s Park Theater to open a show that will provide a full review of her career. The first show is scheduled for December 28th, 2018.

Celine Dion

Dion returned for a second residency and her show continues to be a hot ticket item. While she has performed hundreds of shows, time is running out to see her in Las Vegas. Her residency is supposed to end in January 2019.

Cher

At 72 years-old Cher is still performing regularly and can be seen this October and November at the Park Theater at Park MGM.

Mariah Carey

No one quite embodies the term diva quite like Mariah Carey and you can catch her belting out all her classic hits at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Be sure to check the website for dates.

Other Must-See Shows in Vegas

While there are plenty of great concerts to choose from, Las Vegas is home to some of the most creative entertainment acts that can be found anywhere in the world. If you want to experience world-class, mind-bending acts, here are some must-see shows:

Absinthe

Las Vegas Weekly named Absinthe “the #1 greatest show in Las Vegas History.” This variety show mixes circus style performances with burlesque and vaudeville for a risque show that is definitely for adults only. It is a non-stop combination of comedy, danger, acrobatics and just about anything else you can imagine, all set on a circular stage in the middle of the theater. The audience is right in the action, which helps create a more immersive experience that everyone is raving about. Based on the success of the show, it will probably keep running for some time, but don’t wait to be the last to catch this groundbreaking spectacle.

Ka by Cirque du Soleil

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Cirque du Soleil was started in 1984 by two street performers. By the 1990s, the traveling troupe of performers had gained a huge fan base and were performing shows all over the world. In Vegas, Cirque du Soleil  now has several permanent residencies, which host 9,000 people per night. Ka is one of the latest shows that features all the great aerobatic performances you have come to expect along with a more concrete narrative that takes the audience on a journey. While all of their shows are sure to wow, Ka is earning especially high praise as the company continues to evolve and improve.

Penn and Teller

This duo has been performing together since the 1970s. While they have appeared on the screen and stage, they are best known for their Vegas shows. In fact, they hold the record for the longest running headlining act on the strip. After decades of working together, their show is just as sharp, funny and entertaining as ever, making it well worth the trip.

Piff the Magic Dragon

You may remember seeing Piff the Magic Dragon on America’s Got Talent. His mix of comedy and magic impressed the judges and eventually led to a headlining show in Vegas. While Piff had enjoyed some success before the show, his appearance helped him become a headliner in one of the most competitive markets.  Today, his show is one of the hottest tickets in town.

Baz – Star Crossed Love

Baz Luhrmann, the director of Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby and other intensely visual films has brought his talent to the stage with a show that pays tribute to some of the best musical numbers from his movies. For fans, the production captures that best of Baz and provides a stunning experience for all the senses.

Las Vegas is enjoying a true resurgence that is being fueled by entertainers. Musicians, magicians, acrobats and other unique performers have been able to find a home where they are welcomed by casinos and audiences alike. The sheer number of major shows also marks a more modern approach to attracting new and repeat visitors. The city is effectively adapting to modern tastes and working hard to respond to consumer behavior. Many of these efforts are made possible by new technology that allows for intricate staging, effective crowd control and better casino management. Everything from software, like Casino Schedule Ease, to infrastructure and competitive pricing have worked to attract the best acts and make Las Vegas the one destination where you can see all the best shows in one place.

Casino and Gambling News You Might Have Missed

In recent months, the news has been dominated with buzz around the legalization of sports betting in the United States. While this is certainly big news, there have been plenty of other big stories that may have not gotten the attention they deserved with all the excitement over sports betting. Fortunately, we have been staying on top of current events and so that you can quickly get up-to-date on all the latest casino and gambling news you might have missed.

Ocean Resorts Helps Hurricane Florence Victims

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Leading into the weekend of September 15th, hurricane Florence was on track to make a direct hit on the Carolinas as a category 4 storm. Fortunately, the hurricane lost steam before making landfall although thousands of residents along the east coast were forced to evacuate and head for safer ground. While some had a place to go, many were left scrambling to find or afford shelter. The Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City stepped up to the plate and offered free rooms to anyone that was being displaced by the hurricane. It remains to be seen how many people took advantage of this generous offer, but it was certainly a nice gesture from the casino.

Macau Casinos Reopen after Typhoon

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While residents in the Carolinas have been dealing with hurricane Florence, Macau, one of the biggest gambling and tourism destinations in the world, is just recovering from a devastating typhoon that shut down casinos and led to the loss of millions of dollars in revenue. Macau encompasses a small peninsula and two islands off the coast of China, making it the perfect location for vacationers while also exposing it to extreme storms. The government mandated shutdown began Saturday, September, 15th and  was the first of its kind since casino licenses were first issued in 2002. A total of 42 casinos were forced to shut their doors because officials predicted excessive flooding in the area. As of Monday, September, 17th, the casinos are allowed to reopen, but word is still coming in about how much damage the area has experienced.

The shutdown that lasted a total of 33 hours, is expected to create a loss of revenue of $186 million. What remains to be seen is how much money will need to be put towards repairs and just when the tourists will return in order to help create a steady stream of revenue once again. Hopefully, the area will recover quickly and the evacuation was able to save the lives of employees and tourists who would have been at risk.

Gamblers Always Like the Odds

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An experiment conducted by professors at the University of Waterloo in Canada set out to determine whether making players aware of the statistical probability that they would win at a slot machine would make them less likely to play. Going into the experiment, they had already determined that slot machines use marketing tactics to convince players that they will win. In addition, players almost always overestimate their chances of winning and think that a near miss just means that they are getting closer to a win.

The professors took cues from the Facts Up Front nutrition labeling program that is used in the US to design a program to test whether prominently posting winning stats would affect how players gambled. In the end, educating players about their chances of winning both big and small pots, did not influence whether they played or which machines they favored. For problem gamblers, the labels made people even more confident that they were going to be the statistical oddity and win big. It turns out that even the most conservative gamblers are always willing to play the odds.

David Peters is 2018 Poker Master Winner

A couple months ago, we took a closer look at how poker came to be one of the biggest tournament games in Las Vegas. Over the weekend of September 15th, Aria Resort and Casino hosted the 2018 Poker Masters tournament that included 25 of the top players from around the world. David Peters was the favorite going into the main event and he would eventually emerge victorious and take home a prize of $1,150,000. Peters is just 31 years-old and has managed to accumulate over $24 million in prize money over his career.

New Technology that Will Facilitate Sports Betting

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Even with other big stories breaking, it is hard to get away from sports betting completely. While each state is immersed in its own legal technicalities and working to decide how they want to handle sports betting, casinos are turning to the tech industry for solutions on how to smoothly integrate betting without disrupting other aspects of the business. Specialists in mobile technology have introduced the DraftKings and playMGM apps, with more to follow soon.

Meanwhile casinos are also dealing with other logistical issues related to expanding their offers and adding employees to help manage sports betting. In general, creating a schedule for a casino that runs on a 24/7 clock can be a bit of a nightmare, but when you throw a handful of wrenches into an already complicated system, things can go haywire quickly.

That is why more and more casinos are adopting Casino Schedule Ease (CSE) to manage all their personnel management and scheduling needs. This advanced software has been especially designed to address the challenges that face casinos and provide employees and managers with a simpler way to communicate and optimize scheduling practices. With the help of CSE, casinos managers are able to save time and increase employee morale while also improving the customer experience. This type of technology till continue to play a vital role as casinos work to adapt to new gambling preferences and customer demands.

In the coming months, casino and gambling news will probably continue to be dominated with updates about sports betting. Be sure to turn to us for the latest news that includes and goes beyond the latest in sports betting.

 

The Latest News on Sports Betting in the U.S.

Sports fans and gamblers alike are filled with excitement and anticipation over the recent legalization of sports betting. While individual states are still working to hash out their own rules and regulations about how to implement and manage sports betting, there have been some major developments worth noting. If you are eagerly waiting for sports betting to come to your neck of the woods, here are some updates on the latest developments:

Sports Betting in New Jersey

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Sports betting has been legal in Las Vegas since 1992, so industry watchers are keeping a close eye on New Jersey to see how the nation’s other gambling hub handles this new source of revenue. The official ruling that legalized sports betting was handed down by the Supreme Court on May 14th of 2018. By  August 1st, DraftKings Sportsbook had opened online sports gambling to anyone located in New Jersey. This quick action by the sports giant effectively created a temporary monopoly on betting.

Since then, other Atlantic City Casinos have been scrambling to launch their own in-house and online programs so that they can get their own slice of the pie. As of publication, the following establishments have live sportsbooks on premise:

  • Borgata
  • Bally’s
  • Golden Nugget
  • Harrah’s
  • Monmouth Park
  • Ocean Resort Casino
  • Resorts AC
  • The Meadowlands

When it comes to online sports betting, DraftKings has been joined by SugarHouse Sportsbook, which is associated with the Golden Nugget, and FanDuel Sportsbook, which operates in conjunction with the Meadowlands. While casinos in the area are sure to follow suit, they still have programs in the works.  Part of the problem is that  casinos and racetracks are required to have a physical sportsbook in place before they can launch an online version. This means that many establishments are scrambling to simultaneously create both in-house and online betting programs.

Reasons Behind Delayed Launches

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From a logistical standpoint, creating an online sports betting program that is user-friendly and addresses regulatory requirements is a challenging task. Now throw in cyber-security and risk management issues and you have a truly monumental set of challenges. Certain states are taking these potential threats seriously and being exceptionally cautious when it comes to rolling out online gambling opportunities. They want to make sure that citizens can safely enter their credit card information without having to worry about fraud and money laundering. The fear is that online gambling accounts actually create an ideal target for hackers. In a tech-based world where cyber-security experts and hackers are in a constant game of cat and mouse, these concerns are certainly well-founded. Sports betting fans in certain states may have to remain patient and state legislators and gambling organizations work to create an approach to security that everyone feels comfortable with.

Deciding on a Fair Tax Rate

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Many state governments are waiting and watching to see how online sports betting plays out in other states so that they can make informed decisions about how best to tax game play. Some estimates predict that this form of betting could earn $150 billion annually. In 2017, Nevada set a new earnings record with $248.8 million in revenue. For states who are looking to reduce budget deficits and provide for their residents, that kind of money could mean a healthy influx of tax money.

One of the big challenges is finding the right tax rate and deciding when is the right time to enter the market. Nevada has a long history of imposing a 6.75% tax, which includes income tax on winnings and an excise tax on casino revenue. New Jersey chose a 8% tax while Pennsylvania has imposed a 34% tax before sports betting and online gambling has even reached the state. Sportsbooks will also have to deal with the fact that major leagues and even individual teams are also going to be looking for a piece of the profits, which only continues to narrow their own profit margins.

When it comes to timing, early adopters have the greatest earning potential, but this high risk approach could also result in a series of glitches that could turn into a public relations problem. States that already have some experience with regulating gambling and taxing products that have previously been illegal, such as marijuana, will be the ones most likely to move aggressively on this opportunity.

Upcoming Launches

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States who are looking to move quickly on sports betting are also keeping in mind that football season is right around the corner. The Super Bowl is the single largest betting event and fans will be placing wagers all through the season. Launching before the first game may mean that money that was previously spent on illegal bets can now be taxed.

As it stands, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi all have operational sports book. This fall, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will join the ranks. From there, we will have to wait and see how different states respond and handle this latest change in gambling legislation. Some may seize it as an opportunity while others are perfectly happy to take a more cautious approach.

Ultimately, the legalization of sports betting the the revenue earning potential of online betting are forcing casinos to take a closer look at how they are leveraging technology and protecting their patrons from cyber attacks. Establishments that can effectively onboard new programs and assemble a talented IT team will have the competitive edge and the chance to seize a larger portion of the sports betting business. This means forming new partnerships with tech companies and innovators who may hold the key to successfully moving with the pace of technology.

Already, casinos across the country are turning to specialty software providers like Casino Schedule Ease (CSE) to provide custom solutions that directly address industry related challenges. CSE provides users with the ability to easily schedule hundreds of employees and adequately staff casinos that operate on a 24/7 schedule. It also streamlines the communication process and allows managers to create a visual map of the casino floor. These types of innovations will become increasingly necessary as casinos partner with sportsbook companies and look to increase their online capabilities.