GAMBLING (GAMING) IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE.

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz/Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
PHONE: 530-898-6220/PHONE: 530-898-6192
FAX: 530-898-6143
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu

[For presentation on July 29, 1998 at The 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences,
The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA/26 July - 1 August 1998]
[Web Paper completed July 20, 1998] [1]

[This page printed from: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/14th_ICAES.html]

I. INTRODUCTION
II. BRIEF HISTORY
III. GAMBLING, GAMING, ENTERTAINMENT, OR SIMPLY A BUSINESS?
IV. SPRING 1997 SABBATICAL RESEARCH
V. ON-GOING TEMPORARY CONCLUSIONS
VI. FINAL WORDS
VII. SELECTED REFERENCES

ORIGINAL ABSTRACT

Risk-taking is not new to the Americas and the United States of America has a lengthy history of gambling interests. Contemporary legal gambling ("gaming" to some) generates a tremendous amount of revenue, has a great deal of visibility, and is creating some interesting partnerships. You can go to numerous states that have either land-based or riverboat casinos, participate in state lotteries and multiple state lotteries virtually everywhere (including the District of Columbia), go to numerous local card rooms, or go to various states that have some sort of Native American gambling establishments. Four events contributed to today's accelerated development of gambling/gaming: lotteries, the entrance of corporate America into the gaming industry, the 1988 passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by the Congress of the United States of America, and human nature. Comments, based on cross-country research from California to Connecticut, are made on gambling/gaming, including observations on the largest gaming facility in the world: The Mashantucket Pequot Nation Foxwoods Resort Casino in state of Connecticut. It will be interesting to "bet" on the future of legalized gambling (gaming) in the United States of America.

I. INTRODUCTION

GAMBLING: "It is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief.
George Washington (1732-1799), First President of the United States of America.

It seems appropriate for a paper presented on the campus of The College of William & Mary (founded in 1693 and where the Phi Beta Kappa Society was founded in 1776) to also begin with some words from one of the distinguished attendees of the institution: Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Jefferson was at William & Mary from 1760 to 1762 and was the third President of the United States of America (1801-1809); he was, indeed, an amazing individual and some of his tenets are extremely appropriate to anthropology: "Go and see; you can learn from everyone; judge for yourself; act out of conviction; and trust the future, trust the young."

Jefferson's words summarize my own anthropological research: go, see, learn, judge, have convictions, and have trust. I have been interested in "gaming" (or really "gambling") for many years and I have traveled and visited various gaming/gambling establishments in this country (and abroad) and have learned, made judgments and have opinions about the future; and while I don't completely agree with the language of George Washington's, I shall point out that his statement does have merit! Another individual who should be mentioned is Alfred Cort Haddon (1855-1940) and his Pacific fieldwork (specifically the celebrated Torres Straits Expedition of 1898): anthropologists should remember Haddon and some might even recall the following:

"The first serious field anthropological studies [in the South Pacific] were those carried out by Makluklio-Maklai (1846-1888) to New Guinea in 1871 and by the zoological expedition to the Torres Straits and New Guinea in 1898-99 in which A.C. Haddon (1855-1940) and W.H.R. Rivers (1864-1922) took part." (J.D. Bernal, Science in History, 1954: 746)

Mention is made of Makluklio-Maklai's 1871 fieldwork, prior to Haddon's of 1898, to make the point that every discipline, every type of scholarly research, has a history and it is important to know the past in order to understand the present in an attempt to anticipate the future. While Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) was termed the "father" and "grand old man" of anthropology at Oxford University, it was Alfred Cort Haddon who became the father and grand old man of anthropology at Cambridge (Hays, 1964: 107). I am also a Pacific Anthropologist (with 1970 and 1971 Ph.D. fieldwork in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga) and in many respects my fieldwork experiences of more than a quarter-of-a-century ago contributed to this presentation today; I am also interested in the history of the anthropology and all of my on-going research interests are a piece of whole cloth.

Various ideas are introduced in this paper, including that of (#1) visit-versus-vacation to various casinos in the United States of America as well as (#2) redistribution of resources (or money!). Valene Smith's pioneering 1977 anthropological work (Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism) pointed out that "tourism" is a major worldwide industry and with discretionary income, leisure time, and various positive local sanctions, tourism will succeed. It is clear from my personal perspective, using these three variables as a focal point, one can see that tourism (specifically "gaming/gambling") has evolved in the United States of America.

"The first edition of Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology Of Tourism, published in 1977, was a pioneering work that legitimatized the American academic study of tourism, and provided both a preliminary theoretical perspective and twelve case studies documenting the impacts of tourism." (Valene Smith, 1989, Hosts And Guests: The Anthropology Of Tourism, page ix).

In a Darwinian sense, "gaming/gambling" is a competitive situation that has to continuously evolve in order to keep up with the changing environment and "The carnival city model requires constant and expensive reinvention [or evolution!] to remain competitive." (David Barringer, 1997, "The New Urban Gamble" in The American Prospect: A Journal For The Liberal Imagination (Sep-Oct), No. 34: 28-40, page 32. I am also interested in Charles Darwin and evolution.

II. BRIEF HISTORY

"There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate: when he can't afford it and when he can."
Samuel Longhorne Clemens, also known as "Mark Twain" (1835-1910), American Author

In July 1998 gambling appears to be "epidemic" in the United States of America since one can currently legally "gamble" in 48 of the 50 United States yet it is also clear that long before Europeans "discovered" the Americas inhabitants in this part of the world took part in various games of chance; should one have the opportunity, some 125 miles (201 kilometers) west of Cancún, at Chichén Itzá, Mexico, one can see the largest "ball court" in all of the Americas, measuring some 272 feet in length (83 meters), which had individuals "gambling" for their lives. "Gaming" in North America thus evolved from ball-courts to contemporary Native American casinos (with the most successful and largest casino in the Western Hemisphere, if not the world, being the Mashantucket Pequot Nation Foxwoods Resort Casino in the American state of Connecticut, which has approximately 300,000 square feet of gaming space (27,870 square meters). For comparison purposes, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has approximately 175,000 square feet of gaming space, or 16,257 square meters and the Grand Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, has approximately 140,000 square feet of gaming space, or 13,006 square meters. Foxwoods is big!

Over time, various American corporations have also become heavily involved in this facet of the "entertainment" industry and after the celebrated United States Supreme Court decision of 1988 (California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, begun in 1986 and decided in favor of the Cabazon in 1987), Americans saw the passage of IGRA, or the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. McKay pointed out that "the primary issue in Cabazon was whether the State of California had authority to enforce its gambling laws within the reservation occupied by the Cabazon Indians" (1991/92, page 472) and the resulting Cabazon court decision "allowed unregulated gambling to flourish on Indian reservations" (Weissmann, 1993, "Upping The Ante: Allowing Indian Tribes To Sue States In Federal Court Under The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." The George Washington Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, pages 123-161, page 124); after IGRA, things really began to evolve and laws pertaining to Native American gaming/gambling participation continue to change!

Numerous individuals have postulated that contemporary Native American involvement with "gambling" is the "New Buffalo" (and this may well be the case for some tribes) and the small Native American casino is virtually a thing of the past.; as of November 19, 1997, the United States Secretary of the Interior had signed 158 "Compacts" with 147 Native American Tribes, operating in 24 American States (see http://legiweb.legislate.com/n/news/tribes.htm). In the April/May 1998 issue of Indian Gaming it was reported that "currently, there are 188 gaming tribes operating 285 gaming operations in 28 states" (Anon., 1998a, "What Are The Three Classes Of Gaming?" Indian Gaming, page 21). Various individuals in the United States of America have had a lengthy involvement in gaming and contemporary gaming generates a tremendous amount of revenue, has great visibility, and is creating some interesting partnerships at the end of the 20th Century.

"In retrospect, it seems inevitable that games of chance should have played so large a role in the development of the American character. By the time of the American War of Independence [1776-1782], financed in large part by lotteries, public auctions had been a routine alternative to taxation since Queen Elizabeth I sanctioned England's first raffle in 1566, to finance harbor improvements. In the early seventeenth century it was a lottery that funded the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, North Virginia. ... Risk-taking, by definition, is a fundamental aspect of any pioneer or frontier ethic [stress added]" (Anthony Holden, 1990, Big Deal: A Year As A Professional Poker Player, pages 217-218).

Y.S. Brenner has written of "coalition-formation" as companies evolve together at the end of the 20th Century and his words are well worth considering (for gambling/gaming is a global phenomena):

"Coalition-forming is the specific type of cooperation which accompanies globalization. It has become the new strategy of large enterprises. Coalitions differ from mergers and takeovers because they allow participants to retain relative independence. Their raison d'etre is that they provide the opportunity for establishing positions in strategic markets. They have a 'synergistic' effect by recruiting partners to fill gaps in each other's operations and to increase the possibility for exploiting economies of scale. They lead to cost risk spreading and help to arrive at new standards [stress added]." (Y.S. Brenner, 1998, Looking Into The Seeds of Time: The Price of Modern Development, Second edition, pages xxiv-xxv)

It is abundantly clear that coalitions are forming (and reforming) and that four events contributed to the acceleration of gaming/gambling in the United States of America towards the end of the 20th century: (#1) in 1962 lotteries once-again became an accepted part of daily American culture; (#2) in 1978 the Holiday Inn Corporation, acting on 1969 changes by the Nevada Legislature, made it respectable for "average" stockholders to become part of the gambling industry by owning stocks in companies involved in that industry; (#3) in 1988 the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was passed by the Congress of the United States of America, causing phenomenal growth in Native American gaming activities; and (#4) human nature. It will be interesting to "bet" on the future of legalized "events of chance" in the USA.

State-sanctioned lotteries began anew in this century in the United States of America on March 12, 1964, when the Governor of New Hampshire purchased the first sweepstakes ticket in the American state of New Hampshire. International Gaming & Wagering Business, an influential trade publication, had the following statement: "It was a simple act, exchanging $3 for ticket number 0000001, but one that would set into motion a juggernaut that, 30 years later, would be a $25 billion per year industry comprising 36 states and the District of Columbia" (P. Dworin, 1994, "Editorial: Going Strong 30 Years Later" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, Vol. 15, No. 3, page 8). In 1978 Corporate America entered the industry when the Holiday Inn Corporation made gambling "legitimate" to stockholders. The following is a clear statement of this aspect:

"That [1978] vote [by the Holiday Inn Corporation] marked a significant turning point not just for Holiday, but for the country and the lines that distinguish legitimate business from that which is illegitimate. Throughout history gamblers could earn fortunes, but not much else. If they wanted the status of legitimacy, if they wanted respect, they had to take their money and get themselves or their children out of gambling and into businesses that were respectable because they added some value to society [stress added]." (D. Johnston, 1992, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. To Win Control of the Casino Business page 49)

Sheehan pointed out that prior to the legitimization of the gambling industry a great deal of "cash" was needed to keep Nevada casinos in operation and much of this came from illegal "loans" made to the industry. In 1969, however, "the Nevada Legislature passed a corporate gaming control law that permitted corporations to enter Nevada's gaming industry" and things have accelerated in Nevada (and across the United State of America) ever since then (Jack E. Sheehan, 1997, The Players: The Men Who Made Las Vegas, pages 14-15). These historical events have been the most powerful contributors to the evolution of gambling in the 1990s and when they are combined, they assist us in understanding the acceleration of "gambling" into the respectable "gaming" of today. In their exquisite oral history on gambling (concentrating on the American state of Nevada, but applicable to all of the United States of America), Douglass and Douglass pointed out that "Gaming is not the most noble human activity but it's not the worst one either. People are going to gamble no matter what; it's in their nature" (William A. Douglass and Jack Douglass, 1996, Tap Dancing On Ice, page 229). It must be pointed out, however, what is unique today is the fact that legalized gambling is thoroughly pervasive in the 1990s in the United States of America; as Harvard University Professor Howard Shaffer phrased it:

"'Young people have been gambling since the beginning of time,' he said. 'But I think now, for the first time, young people are growing up having lived their entire lives in a social environment where gambling is promoted and socially accepted [stress added].'" (Brett Pulley, "For Many Children, Gambling has Become A Rite Of Passage." The San Francisco Chronicle, June 20, 1998, page A9)

The involvement of government is the major change we see today in the United States of America: gambling is a "normal everyday occurrence" and while certain aspects of the state encourage and advertise gambling within that state, other agents of those same governments may be responsible for enforcing the laws concerning "gambling" within that state. To return to the classics and Decimus Junius Juvenal (55-130A.D.): Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? ("But who is to guard the guards themselves?") It is clear, however, there are checks and balances as the following Nevada legal decision pointed out:

"Betraying the public's trust earned a former Nevada Gaming Control Board slot cheating specialist a seven-year prison sentence Friday for rigging slot machines to pay jackpots. Saying society demands outrage and retribution when someone in a position of trust abuses that trust, Washoe District Court Judge Peter Breen rejected a plea for probation...." (Steve Timko, 1998, "Cheating Expert Gets 7 Years In Slot Scheme." Reno Gazette-Journal, January 10, 1998, page B1)

III. GAMBLING, GAMING, ENTERTAINMENT, OR SIMPLY A BUSINESS?

"If you bet on a horse, that's gambling. If you bet you can make three spades, that's entertainment.
If you bet cotton will go up three points, that's business. See the difference?" Blackie Sherwood, American Sportswriter
(in Mike Orkin, 1991, Can You Win: The Real Odds for Casino Gambling, Sports Betting, and Lotteries, page 1)

Gambling ("entertainment" to some) has been transformed from an American vice to a major American industry. An executive with a publicly-traded company, which does a great deal of research in maintaining its prominent position within the industry, wrote in 1993 that "Socialization, entertainment and winning are the three major reasons why people game at casinos." (Philip G. Satre, 1993, The Harrah's Survey of U.S. Casino Gaming Entertainment, page 11; and for the on-line version of the 1997 Survey, please go to http://www.harrahs.com/survey/ce97/ce97_index.html). In my opinion, however, individuals not only go to gamble for socialization and entertainment but we/they also go to try and win and because we also wish to be "a somebody" and we wish to think that we are in "control" of our destiny while using our "luck" and skills. This is the aspect of "human nature" referred to above.

History points out that games of chance were always a part of the American heritage. We should also be aware that although gambling was legalized in the American State of Nevada in 1931, it was only in 1910 that gambling was declared illegal in that state! From 1910 to 1931, Americans did without "legal" gambling but that all changed in 1931 and after 1978, when gambling was made legal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, this "entertainment industry" accelerated and it is a big business, with staggering dollar amounts: in 1996, for example, Americans wagered some $5,430,070 every-hour-of-every-day or ~$90,544/minute!

"Consumer spending on commercial games (gross gambling revenue, or GGR) rose by $2,540 billion, or 5.6%, to a record $47.623 billion. ... in [the past] 36 months consumer spending on commercial games [read "gambling or gaming!"] has risen by $[US]12.3 billion--or two and a half times the amount consumers spend on admissions to movie theaters." ("The Gross Annual Wager in 1996." International Gaming & Wagering Business, August 1997, pages 4-16, pages 13-15)

In comparison with other businesses, the $US47 billion gaming revenue may be compared with American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), which had sales of $US52 billion in 1996, as well as Texaco's $US44 billion in sales that year. Legalized gambling (#1) generates a great deal of revenue, (#2) has a great deal of visibility, and (#3) is creating interesting partnerships or coalitions. Corporations, building on their strengths, are affiliating themselves, for example, with Native American casinos in Arizona (Ak-Chin Indian Community), Alabama (Poarch Band of Creek Indians), Washington State (Upper Skagit Indian Tribe), as well as California (Pala Band of Mission Indians), and the Cherokee of North Carolina. The "visibility" (and the competition) within the industry should be obvious to all: from the bombarding messages of state-lotteries, to the mega-resorts being developed in Nevada (and Mississippi), there is growth and demand for the consumer dollar (or the redistribution of resources or money (and for the Cherokee, see http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=105&STORY=/www/story/11-13-97/358845&EDATE). Coalition-forming also takes place between apparent "entertainment rivals" all over the nation: in Detroit, Michigan, Circus Circus is in partnership with MGM Grand and the Greektown/Chippewa Indians to build a major casino in that city and in Reno, Nevada, Circus Circus is a 50 percent partner in the adjacent Silver Legacy Resort Casino; in Las Vegas, Nevada, Circus Circus is a partner with Mirage Resorts in the Monte Carlo Resort Casino but in Atlantic City, in January of this year, Mirage Resorts canceled a partnership agreement with Circus Circus and the Boyd Gaming Corporation for a mega-resort to be built in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is, indeed, a volatile industry! (Anon., 1998, "Mirage Jilts Partners In Atlantic City Project." Reno Gazette-Journal, January 21, page 3D)

Since 1978 there has been tremendous growth within the "gaming/entertainment" industry and there is competition and there has been (and will be) adaptation to the changing environment(s). Americans can currently legally "gamble" in every American state except for Utah and Hawai'i (but the American state of Hawai'i will probably authorize gambling within the next few years, discussed below).

"In the next wave of Las Vegas' evolution as a vacation destination, tourists will come for an experience that combines entertainment with education, a top gaming executive said Tuesday. 'The aging of American consumers will be increasingly important for the development of 'edutainment.' They want to see and learn something with strong product value. They want to see something they can't find in their hometown, but they don't want to travel very far,' said Glenn Schaeffer, president and chief financial office of Circus Circus Entertainment Inc. [stress added]." (Monica Caruso, 1997, "Education Plays Bigger Role At Resorts." Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 15, page 1D & 2D)

Gambling has spread to such an extent across the United State of America that it is difficult to keep up with the information. While it might be expected that Las Vegas, Nevada, is the major United States gambling destination (with 1996 revenues of $4,250,000,000), and Atlantic City, New Jersey (which authorized legal gambling in 1978), is the second gambling destination in the United States of America (with 1996 revenues of $3,800,000,000), how many people might know that the third, fourth, fifth, and six gaming destinations (in order) are the American States of: Mississippi (1996 revenues of $1,800,000,000), Louisiana (1996 revenues of $1,700,000,000), Illinois (1996 revenues of $1,100,000,000), and the Reno/Sparks area of Nevada (with 1996 gambling revenues of $885,000,000)? (Dale Kasler, 1998, "A New Bet In Reno." The Sacramento Bee, June 14, pages A1, A22, and A23, page A22) Changes (or development and evolution) over the past twenty years have been incredible: and although the following "square footage/meters" data are out of date, they are useful for comparison purposes: in 1994 it was reported that whereas Nevada had some 4,501,129 square feet of casino space (418,165 square meters), Mississippi had 1,162,406 square feet (107,990 square meters), and New Jersey (Atlantic City) only had 797,155 square feet of casino space (74,057 square meters). (Anon., 1994, "High Stakes In Mississippi." USA Today, July 7) As Meyer-Arendt pointed out:

"As recently as the late 1980s, Mississippi was an impoverished conservative Southern state that ranked near the bottom on most lists of economic and social indicators. By 1995, Mississippi had become the number two or number three casino gambling state in America, depending upon one's standard of measure." (K. K. Meyer-Arendt, 1998, "From The River To The Sea: Casino Gambling in Mississippi" in Casinos Gambling in America: Origins, Trends, And Impacts (edited by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt and Rudi Hartmann), pages 151-167 page 151)

Tunica County, Mississippi, is a location of major casinos in the northwestern part of that state and is located approximately 45 miles, or 72 kilometers, from Memphis, the largest city in the state of Tennessee. (Memphis had a 1990 population of 610,337.) In 1992 County tax revenues in Tunica were $US3.5 million and it is estimated that for the 1998 fiscal year, county revenues will be $US35.8 million. (Anon., 1998, "Gaming Is A Boon For Ole Miss." Pequot Times, May 1998, page 10) It is clearly "big business" regardless of which corporation or Native American tribe is involved and in California current legal issues concerning "gambling" and expansion and Native Americans have yet to be resolved. It will be interesting to follow that development:

"An Indian gambling agreement opposed by most California tribes was narrowly approved by the state Senate on Wednesday [May 27, 1998] despite claims that it was one more broken promise for Native Americans....The Republican Governor [Pete Wilson] described the Pala compact as a model for other tribes that operate or want to open casinos, but most tribes blasted the agreement, saying it would result in economic ruin for their reservations." (Anon., 1998, Reno Gazette-Journal, May 28, page 5A)

On June 29, 1998, a committee of the California State Assembly rejected the Governor's position and it probably take an initiative on the November 1998 ballot to determine the gaming issue for California tribes and then what? (Please see http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/4621/1native.html.)

"'If the initiative passes, it would be devastating for Nevada,' said Whittier Law School Professor I. Nelson Rose. 'Since there would be no restrictions on gaming, and there are over 100 pieces of federally recognized Indian land in the state, and a tribe with enough land and enough customers could put up dozens of casinos.'" (Cited by Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, July 1998, page 1, pages 26-31, page 26).

Indeed, Connor began his most perceptive 1998 article with the following:

"Imagine a California with 40 or more Foxwood-sized gaming facilities, many lining the thoroughfares leading from Southern California to the Nevada border, each aggressively wooing the millions of customers from the population centers of Anaheim and San Diego to the gambling meccas of Las Vegas, Reno, Stateline, and Laughlin. That's the doomsday prediction of some gaming observers watching the action in California.... [stress added]" (Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, July 1998, page 1, pages 26-31, page 1 and 26).

Please note, that certain elements in Nevada are going to keep busy trying to defeat the California initiative in November 1998:

"A California Indian gaming initiative on the Nov. 3 [1998] ballot poses a threat to Nevada casinos, especially those in the north, a leading gaming analyst said Monday [June 29, 1998]. ... Reno-Lake Tahoe casinos could see visitations cut by a third and gaming revenues cut by $[US]110 million to $[US]130 million a year if the California Indian Self-Reliance Initiative passes.... Nevada casinos understand the risk and are pledging more than $[US]20 million to fight it, beginning in about a month.... the initiative could take a $[US]250-million to $[US]300-million slice out of southern Nevada gaming revenues [stress added]" (John Stearns, 1998, "Gaining initiative Looms." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 30, pages 1E and 3E.)

California is not the only American state where gambling and politics are connected: on Monday July 20, 1998 (the day this web-paper was finally completed), USA Today had a lengthy article pointing out that in addition to California, the "States where gambling is a hot political topic include:" Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee. and Texas. (Jill Lawrence, 1998, "Politicians Roll The Dice On Gambling." USA Today, May 20, pages 8A and 9A) Regardless of the results of the November 1998 California vote, and Native American gaming notwithstanding, in the United States of America one can be a "guest" go or be "entertained" in a numerous establishments (Native American or non-Native American), and one can also "invest" in various industry stocks such as: Alpha Hospitality Corporation, Aztar Corporation, Circus Circus Enterprises, Inc., Colorado Casino Corporation, Grand Casino Inc., Harvey's Casino Resorts, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Hilton Hotels Corp., MGM Grand Inc., Mirage Resorts Inc., Station Casinos Inc., and Winner's Entertainment Inc. (just to name a few); one can also invest in various industry suppliers, such as: Acres Gaming Inc., International Gaming Technology, Shuffle Master Inc., and Video Lottery Tech Inc. Indeed, with the June 1998 purchase of the Las Vegas-based gaming company named Showboat, Inc. by Harrah's, Harrah's became "the world's largest pure gaming firm by revenue" with market presence in Nevada, Atlantic City, Chicago, Washington State, Arizona, California, North Carolina, as well as Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia. (John Stearns, 1998, "Harrah's Finalizes Showboat Purchase." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 2, Page 4E.) The gaming world is a big business and with nineteen properties, Harrah's is now the largest "pure gaming company!"

"Philip G. Satre, chairman and chief executive officer of Harrah's stated: 'We are pleased to close the Showboat transaction and begin aggressively to integrate Showboat casinos, operations, customers and employees into the Harrah's systems. Our strategy -- as defined by this very positive transaction -- is to use distribution, customer service, marketing and technology to become the casino company of choice for our target players. Showboat is a perfect fit, offering us additional distribution and an expanded customer base in key growth and feeder markets. Like Harrah's, the Showboat brand is recognized by its core customers as standing for a quality gaming experience.'" (Please see WWW.Lodgingresearch.com and the PRNewswire release of June 1, 1998, Memphis, Tennessee: http://www.lodgingresearch.com/lrn/pagebuilder2.asp.)

Whether Harrah's "number one position will last for long has yet to be decided since, most recently, the Hilton Hotel Corporation decided to "split" into lodging and gaming companies:.

"The changes announced yesterday will free Hilton's more lucrative lodging operations from its less successful gambling business. ... Hilton's gambling business is the world's largest, with revenues of $2.6 billion last year, but the U.S. casino industry is performing poorly overall, in part due to fierce competition. ... Hilton Hotels has 260 hotels in the United States. The new casino company [yet to be named] will have 18 casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Australia, and Uruguay [stress added]." (Anon., 1998, "Hilton Separating Into 2 Companies." San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, page B3)

The evolutionary competition is on-going. Cooper argues that "Casinos Destroy Industry and Rob the Poor" and "casinos produce no wealth (except for the owners)" (Cooper, 1996, "Casinos Destroy Industry and Rob the Poor." The Nation, February 19, pages 11-19 [and reprinted in Evans and Hance, 1998, Legalized Gambling: For And Against, pages 85-98] ), one can also point out that with these casinos across the United States of America one sees a redistribution of the wealth. Indeed, this is the point made by some who follow Native American gaming very closely:

"Some Indian casinos and high-stakes bingo halls are wildly successful and earn millions of dollars each year for their respective tribes. They acquire enough to pay dividends to tribal members, finance social programs, establish new business ventures, and even donate money to political parties. However, that level of success is not universal and it may not even apply to most tribes. In 1993 just 10 tribes earned more than half of the gross gaming revenues attributed to Indian gaming (Reeves, 1994)." (J.A. Davis and S.M. Otterstrom, 1998, "Growth of Indian Gaming In The United States." In Casino Gambling in America: Origins, Trends, And Impacts (edited by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt and Rudi Hartmann), pages 53-66. page 61).

In August 1997, however, the Lummi Nation Casino, located in the American State of Washington (just south of the Canadian border and the major metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), was forced to close and 238 people lost their jobs, clearly demonstrating that not every single Native American casino can succeed. The casino was successful until Canadian "entertainment" (gambling) rules were changed and the Lummi's lost out. Indeed, in the publication entitled Indian Gaming (April/May 1998), while not specifically naming the Lummi Nation Casino, the following was reported: "In Washington, one of the 12 tribal casinos approved by the state was forced to close last summer and at least three more have stopped making required community-impact contribution" and for the American State of New Mexico it was reported that "Tribal leaders at Taos Pueblo say their gaming operation is in 'dismal financial condition' and it can afford to pay only $US4,516 of the $US169,000 it owes to the state" (Anon., Indian Gaming, 1998: 22; and see http://www.sunherald.com/casinos/docs/trbcas013098.htm). The same information also appeared in the March 1998 issue of the Pequot Times, page 10. In June of 1998 Harrah's Skagit Valley Casino (owned by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe), located 15 miles south of Bellingham, had to lay off approximately 5 percent of the more than 700 individuals employed at the casino because of changes in Canadian gaming rules and the current economic crisis in Asia; and Native American casinos in Washington State will not be the only ones affected by changes in Canadian gaming: in June of 1998 it was also reported that:

"The Reno-Sparks area [of Nevada] has seen its share of Canadian visitors dwindle in recent years and could sustain more losses when gaming destination casinos begin operating in British Columbia next year....As Canadians who like Reno age and travel less, however, Reno needs to attract the younger customers who tend to prefer the glitter of Las Vegas....Szony [the Chief Executive of The Sands Regency Hotel Casino in Reno] expects the B[ritish] C[olumbia] casinos to have a chiseling effect on Reno similar to that felt from Indian casinos and California card clubs." (John Stearns, 1998, "Canadian Casinos May Cut Tourism." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 16, page 1E and 3E.)

It is clear that competition is on-going, swift, and (for some) deadly because Las Vegas is not slowing down! In June 1998 the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau (and former executive of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and who also worked for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Bureau) was paraphrased as saying "Reno is sitting on a vacation gold mine, it just needs to sell it better" (John Stearns, 1998, "Reno Sits On Tourist 'Gold Mine" (Reno Gazette-Journal, June 13, page 12B) In April 1998, yet another Las Vegas casino was "imploded" (the fifth in the last five years) to create a new casino:

"The 17-story, 1,100-room Aladdin is the fifth local icon to be blasted into oblivion in the last five years, all succumbing to the city's megaresort mania. Since 1989, 10 of the huge hotels - boasting 2,500-3,000 rooms and costing $[US]80 million to $[US]2 billion apiece - have gone up, and five more are planned or under construction. Once the Aladdin's prime 35-acre site is cleared, construction will start on a new 2,600-room Aladdin Hotel and Casino; a second hotel-casino with 1,000 rooms as a joint venture of parent Aladdin Gaming Ltd. and Planet Hollywood. ... Richard Goeglein, president and chief executive officer of Aladdin Gaming, says he isn't worried that the city is gaining 26,000 new hotel rooms in just three years, a 25 percent increase that will boost room inventory past 125,000 [stress added]." (Anon., 1998, "Out With Old, In With All-New Aladdin Hotel." Reno Gazette-Journal, April 27, page 1A)

"So many old casinos have been imploded to clear the way that the Las Vegas Review-Journal features an archive of video footage of Strip demolitions on its computer Web site (www.lvrj.com/lvrj/-home/in-depth/packages-/onlyinvegas/implode/)." (Patrick O'Driscoll, 1998, "Las Vegas Is Pushing The Limits." USA Today, July 17, page 8A) [NOTE: since the above link as provided in the article appears be non-existent, please begin with http://www.lvrj.com/.]

IV. SPRING 1997 SABBATICAL RESEARCH

"I never gamble." John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), American Financier

In April 1997 my wife and I left Chico, California, and after 46 days of driving (and 10,000 miles or 16,090 kilometers) we had visited 26 academic institutions and more than that many "gaming" establishments across the United States of America, including in our cross-country research trip the largest gaming facility in the world: the Mashantucket Pequot Nation Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. En route we also visited the tremendous development going on in Tunica, Mississippi. We proceeded through Reno, Nevada, and into Las Vegas, Nevada, and as Newcott pointed out: if the Las Vegas "Strip is a slick theme park, downtown [Las Vegas] is a raucous carnival" (1996, "Believing Las Vegas." The National Geographic, December, Vol. 190, No. 6, page 65).

Just as "gaming" has gone from being a vice to a major "entertainment" industry, so has Las Vegas changed since we first visited the city in the late 1960s:

"Departed mobster Bugsy Siegel would blanch at the idea, but Las Vegas - once touted as a 'Disneyland for adults' - has spent big bucks to transform itself into a family-friendly vacation destination. When other areas of the country began getting into gambling in a big way, Las Vegas began to broaden its tourism base. No longer just a cluster of casinos, Las Vegas today has an array of attractions for all ages. 'Las Vegas is a lot cheaper than Orlando [Florida] (Home of Disney World)'....New attractions range from theme parks to pirate battles, dolphin and white tiger habitats, Star Trek and Atlantis attractions and interactive game venues." (Robert Macy, 1998, "Las Vegas Earns Kudos As A Family Place With Something For All Ages." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Getaways, June 4, 1998, pages 12-13, page 12)

Driving cross-country, through Arizona and New Mexico we saw numerous casinos (and educational institutions) and learned a great deal about the gaming industry first-hand. We eventually arrived in the American state of Connecticut, at the Mashantucket Pequot Foxwoods Resort Casino and it was incredible. Carmichael has pointed out that "To the Mashantucket-Pequot tribe, the casino is a passport to economic development and power....filling a need for a leisure activity that seems to be an insatiable demand (1998, "Foxwoods Resort Casino, Connecticut--A Mega-Attraction: Who Wants It? Who Benefits?" Casino Gambling in America: Origins, Trends, And Impacts, edited by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt and Rudi Hartmann, pages 68 and 74) "Foxwoods" currently attracts some 50,000 "visitors" a day and the revenue generated is staggering. The original Foxwoods High Stakes Bingo & Casino opened on February 15, 1992, and had a gaming area of approximately 46,000 square feet (4,273 square meters). For the sixth year anniversary of Foxwoods (expanded to approximately 300,000 square feet of gaming space, or 27,870 square meters), the casino was "giving away" $10,000 a day for 60 days and on an American holiday like the 4th of July, Foxwoods attracts approximately 250,000 visitors! This is clearly big business and something which other Native American casinos hope to duplicate. As Business Week pointed out in July 1997:

"One of the biggest hotels in the U.S. now rises in the eastern Connecticut woods near Ledyard. Pequot Towers, a $[US]350 million hotel/convention center/casino, which opened on July 3 [1997], is a striking symbol of the Mashantucket Pequot's phenomenal success since entering the gambling business with the Foxwoods Resort Casino in 1992." (Anon., 1997, "Can The Pequots Stay On A Roll?" Business Week, July 21, page 38).

Later in 1997, Brigitte Greenberg, of the Associated Press, reported the following:

"With the casino making more than $[US]1 million a day even during slow periods, the Mashantucket Pequots are using their economic muscle to reach well beyond their 1,238-acre [12.38 hectare] reservation in southeastern Connecticut to create a major tourist center. ... Though the tribe will not divulge its profits, it does report its [5,540] slot machine take to the state, which keeps 25 percent under an agreement struck in 1993. With slot revenues topping $[US]2 billion since then, the states share has exceeded $[US]550 million." (Brigitte Greenberg, 1997, "Connecticut Indians Win Big At Gambling." The San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, page A7)

The Foxwoods Resort Casino opened in 1992 and it was a success; in 1996, the Mohegan Sun Casino opened a few miles away in Uncasville, Connecticut, and more successes flowed! To place the dollar amounts from the American state of Connecticut into some perspective, please consider the following:

"By our estimation, the two [Connecticut] casinos generated nearly $[US]1.5 billion dollars in revenue for 1997. By way of comparison, that is roughly 38% of what the twelve Atlantic City [New Jersey] posted in casino revenues in 1997" [stress added]." (Sebastian Sinclair, 1998, "Go-Go Times Roll On For Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun." Indian Gaming Business: A Quarterly Supplement to international Gaming & Wagering Business, May, pages 8-9, page 8)

Continuing to place things in perspective, it can also be useful to compare gaming space for certain casinos (and the numbers below are all "approximations" since they come from various sources from various years and may not take into account any recent renovations and expansions, such as The Nugget and Luxor and...):

FACILITY & LOCATION
"APPROXIMATE" CASINO SPACE IN SQUARE FEET
"APPROXIMATE" CASINO SPACE IN SQUARE METERS
Foxwoods, Connecticut
300,000
27,870
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
175,000
16,257
Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi
140,000
13,006
Excalibur, Las Vegas, Nevada
123,944
11,514
Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey
120,000
11,148
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
118,000
10,962
One hectare = 2.471 acres
107,636 square feet
10,000 square meters
The Reno Hilton, Nevada
100,000
9,290
Harvey's, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
91,296
8,481
Luxor, Las Vegas, Nevada
90,000
8,361
International Soccer Field
84,766 square feet
7,875 square meters
Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
83,646
7,770
The Nugget, Sparks, Nevada
73,900
6,865
Harrah's, Reno, Nevada
62,300
5,785
American "football" field
57,600 square feet
5,351 square meters
ONE ACRE
43,560 square feet
4,047 square meters

It has, however, been a long and arduous road to travel for the Mashantucket Pequot and all Native Americans to reach this stage of the "new buffalo" and as the Tribal Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot wrote in the 1990s:

"Four hundred years ago, my ancestors fished, farmed and hunted on traditional Pequot lands. Ours was a creative, vibrant and peaceful culture, living in harmony with nature. Despite the rich tradition and history of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal nation, most people know us only by our very recent success through the Foxwoods Resorts Casino and other Tribal enterprises. We have indeed been fortunate in our efforts, but our prosperity crowns a history of hardship and struggle." (Richard A. "Skip" Hayward, n.d., Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, page 5).

In the Smithsonian magazine for July 1998, there is a full page advertisement (page 87) giving an "800 number" (1-800-411-9671) to receive a brochure for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center which is due to open August 11, 1998. The Mashantucket Pequot have arrived (and it took lotteries, Cabazon, IGRA, and human nature to get them where they are today):

"10,000 years ago a Native people were the first inhabitants of Southeastern Connecticut, home today to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Now you can discover the rich heritage and traditions of this remarkable people in a new state-of-the-art Native American museum. Lifesize dioramas, historic artifacts, fine art, films, videos and interactive media all combine to capture the history, culture and changing way of life of the Pequots and other Northeast woodland tribes. Descend through a glacial crevasse. Wander inside a 16th-century village. Tour a 1780 farmstead. Travel through more than 10,000 years to discover the heart and life of a nation and its people." (Smithsonian, July 1998, page 87)

The "gaming" industry is an interesting one to follow (and participate in moderately) and the "players" are rapidly changing and regrouping:

"Flush with cash from booming casinos, Indians tribes are wielding political clout on Capitol Hill to match their economic clout back home. ... The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe - whose Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn., is the nation's biggest and most profitable - gave $[US]409,625 in unregulated soft money between Jan. 1, 1995, and Dec. 31, 1996. That was more than any other gambling interest, according to Common Cause and the Center for Responsive Politics. Members of the tribe gave another $[US]20,700. ... Other tribes with gambling interests also gave generously to political campaigns. The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut gave $[US]100,000 in soft money in 1995-96 and $[US]53,000 this year. The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in California contributed $[US]107,000 in soft money during 1995-96, while tribal members gave $[US]19,000. The Indian tribes are also a presence on Capitol Hill. The Pequots spent $[US]40,000 o lobbying in 1996. The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin spent $[US]120,000." (Anon., 1997, "Casino Profits Give Indians Political Muscle." The Chico Enterprise-Record, July 13, page 3A)

"A few years ago, American Indian tribes could only dream of having the political clout that the Mississippi Band of Choctaw now enjoys. Such influence doesn't come cheap. Tribes reported spending $[US]5 million last year on lobbying Congress and the executive branch. ... The Choctaws alone ran up a $[US]1.1 million lobbying bill. ... The 8,300-member Choctaw tribe, one of the biggest success stories in Indian country, owns a 550,000-square foot casino [51,096 square meters], which grosses an estimated $[US]200 million a year, and several manufacturing plants, and a world-class golf course. Along with access to good jobs, each tribal member gets $[US]2,000 a year from the band's profits." (Philip Brasher, 1998, "Wealth Gives Indian Tribes Political Clout." Chico Enterprise-Record, May 20, page 5C)

The gambling/gaming entertainment industry is a changing one and gambling itself is exciting and people wish to be excited. Various individuals have studied gambling and consider the research of the anthropologist Hayano:

"Many lay people erroneously believe that the cultural anthropologist studies only ancient or nonwestern cultures, digs in the ground, or otherwise studies primates. A passage from a book by card authority John Scarne stood out in my mind as a prime example: 'The observation of crooked card players is my business, as the observation of nonhuman primates is the anthropologist's.' (John Scarne, Scarne On Cards, p. 4). Cultural anthropology is the study of extant human cultures and societies around the world. As a branch of cultural anthropology, ethnography is devoted to the scientific description of one particular culture or group of people [stress added]." (D. Hayano, 1982, The Life And Work Of Professional Card Players, page 183.)

My personal ethnographic research has convinced me not to gamble excessively since I have had sufficient "entertainment" at the hands of corporate America and I follow the words of Steve Wynn (cited by David Spanier, 1992, Welcome To The Pleasuredome: Inside Las Vegas, page 17) on making money: Wynn, the Chairman of Mirage Resorts Inc. (and owner of some of the largest properties in Las Vegas, namely the 3,049 room Mirage, the 2,900 room Treasure Island, and the 3,000 room Bellagio, scheduled to open in September of 1998) is quoted as saying "If you wanna make money in a casino, own one [stress added!]"

Returning to the Pacific for one moment, it is interesting to note that in 1993 the world-wide "Sheraton Corporation" expressed an interest in gaming in the American state of Hawai'i and Richard Hartman, President of the North American Division of Sheraton was quoted as saying: "If and when gaming is legalized in Hawaii, Sheraton wants to be in a strong position to move to the forefront" ( Rodrigo, C., 1993, "Sheraton Enters Gaming Industry." Pacific Business News (Honolulu), May 17, page 2). In 1995, the following appeared concerning Hawai'i:

"As Hawaii ponders the merits of legalized gambling, a group of American Indians is positioning itself to provide $100 million in financial backing to native Hawaiians for development of a casino. ... Ideally...the casino would be on land owned by native Hawaiians. The American Indian group is offering to manage the casino and train native Hawaiians for up to five years, or until its initial investment and interest are recouped" (Chuck Davis, 1995, "American Indians Offer Casino Funding." Pacific Business News, January 30, page 1).

On February 24, 1998, House Bill 2229 was introduced for a statewide on legalized gambling in that American State (please see http://www.hb2229.com/).

"On February 24, 1998, Big Island Mayor Stephen Yamashiro wrote to Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki and House Finance Committee Chairperson, Calvin K.Y. Say, urging passage of House Bill 2229.  The full text of the letter to Speaker Joseph Souki is available.  Mayor Yamashiro cited the results of a recent poll.  The poll indicated that the public believes that the Legislature should let the voting public decide the issue of gaming.  House Bill 2229 provides for a vote on the Big Island at the next general election.  If the majority of Big Island voters approve, a single site casino would be allowed under terms specified in House Bill 2229." (Please see http://www.hb2229.com/hb_n&u.htm.)

I predict that it will only be a short time before legal gambling is allowed in Hawai'i, since this is what certain residents of the state apparently wish to vote upon, and then it will be 49/50! The League of Women Voters of Hawai'i has come out against legalized gambling in that state, but I still predict that legalized gambling will occur, in one form or another. For a comprehensive statement on the situation in Hawai'i, as of October 1997 (and numerous references), please see their report, from which the following is taken:

"On October 18, 1997, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii adopted the following position: The LWV of Hawaii believes legalized gambling, with the exception of social gambling, i.e., gambling in which the house does not take a cut, is not an acceptable method of raising revenue or stimulating economic development. The League is convinced economic and social interests of Hawaii residents are not served by establishing a business in which government takes an active role, bears unknown costs, and places some of its residents at high risk. [But please note:] The League recognizes that under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, if the State were to approve any form of gambling, it would open up Hawaii to Native American or Hawaiian Sovereignty casinos [stress added]." (Susan Durstin, 1997, Should Hawaii Legalize Gambling? Facts And Issues; A Study By The League Of Women Voters of Hawaii (June 1997).

In the Darwinian sense, competition is intense all across the United States of America some casino operators (and companies) will survive and some will not:

"Several Las Vegas casino-hotel companies are expected to post good results for the third quarter despite intense competition for market share.... But for other operators in Atlantic City, N.J., and riverboat markets, the fight for patrons was a drain on profitability...." (The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1997, page B7C)

Nevada versus New Jersey (or Atlantic City), and both against the rest of the nation. (If one wishes to pursue some of the State of Nevada statistics for oneself, for relatively up-to-date information from the Nevada Gaming Commission, please see http://www.state.nv.us/gaming/.) Atlantic City casinos versus Connecticut casinos. Northern Nevada versus Southern Nevada. Downtown Reno versus locations a few miles away. The Las Vegas "strip" versus "downtown" (and the "Fremont Street) experience. Traditional casinos versus Native American Casinos and native American Casinos competing amongst themselves in the same American state, such as Connecticut , or New Mexico, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. There is also competition between land-based-casinos and riverboat casinos: "The first riverboat casino opened [the the State of] Iowa in April 1991. Just seven years later, more than 80 of these floating casinos ply the waterways of six states, from Illinois to Mississippi [stress added]." (Fredreka Schouten, 1998, "Jury Still Out On Success of Midwest Casinos." Reno Gazette-Journal May 17, page 7C) Competition also exists between various "table-games" versus machine games and "old" games (both table and machine) versus new computerized machines that are being developed; and we also see competition between "players" (or those seeking "entertainment") versus casino operators who are working diligently at tracking their valuable constituents. And-so-forth! I am reminded of the words of the American Anthropologist Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), who also worked in New Guinea: "The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself." (Steps To An Ecology Of Mind, 1972, page 483).

The Reno/Sparks/northern Nevada versus Las Vegas competition will be the "easiest" for me to follow into the next century: Reno has considered placing a "roof" over the downtown area (much like the "Fremont Street" experience of downtown Las Vegas) and has also consciously expanded "gaming" facilities well-beyond the downtown area (much like the Las Vegas expansion beyond the original "Strip"). Recently the downtown Reno Silver Legacy Resort Casino began "live combat acting" within the Hotel Casino's celebrated Silver Dome "in a wild West version of the long-running pirate stunt show at Treasure Island Hotel Casino in Las Vegas." (Don Cox, 1998, "Rough-And-Tumble At The Silver Legacy: Live Shows Take Their Toll On Actors." Reno Gazette-Journal, Page A1 and A3, page A1) Incidentally, the "long-running" free Treasure Island show in Las Vegas has been being performed only since October 1993 and time seems to "compress" in this digital age!

As a scenario as to why Las Vegas is so intriguing, consider, if you will, a "typical" individual who lives in northern California (where the community of Chico is located): in the past, she liked to "gamble" or go to be "entertained" in Reno/Sparks or Lake Tahoe, Nevada and decided to visit those locations several times a year. Over-the-years, however, she has seen Reno "deteriorate" from her perspective: downtown Reno has attempted to develop but establishments (both gambling and non-gambling) have closed in recent years (as new "gaming/entertainment" destinations open in Las Vegas, and elsewhere). She is aware of statements like "Downtown Reno Businesses Face Grim Future" (Susan Voyles, 1998, Reno Gazette-Journal, January 19, page 9D) and she decides that rather than make two-or-three visits to Reno (or Lake Tahoe) she will make one trip to Las Vegas and take a vacation and will see the growth and development taking place in Las Vegas. She knows that Las Vegas "is always growing and changing" so why go to Reno (or "the Lake") and see more of the same closed establishments? Old (and closed and/or depressing areas) can only attract "players" so many times and gradually (or perhaps not so gradually), Las Vegas turns into a true vacation destination for the California resident (and for residents of other states as well). Of course, there are the stories which appear in the press dealing with "human nature" (which, if we are honest with ourselves, we say: "that could have been me"):

"...was waiting for her husband Frederico, at Bill's Lake Tahoe Casino, when she decided to drop three coins into a 25-cent, IGT Wheel of Fortune progressive slot machine. It was a decision that would change her life forever change her life. 'I put in three quarters and when the three 'wheel' symbols lined up and the bells rang, I wasn't sure what I had won and why no money was coming out,' she said. No money came out because $1,231,002 - the amount of the progressive Jackpot...-won't fit into a slot machine." (Neil Baron, 1998, "Player Walks Away With $1,231,002." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 11-17, page 21)

Not bad at all! But since there are more machines in Las Vegas, the chances for the once-in-a-lifetime win just might be better! So the northern California resident (and her family or friends) decides to go to Las Vegas and other Nevada destinations suffer. She now takes a vacation in Las Vegas instead of visiting Reno.Weather conditions notwithstanding, Lake Tahoe "gaming wins" are at their lowest levels in years; and Reno, which put in a huge "Bowling Stadium" for professional tournaments does not have any tournaments scheduled for all of 1999, and Las Vegas continues to evolve! Incidentally, the impact of the 82,025 bowlers who competed in Reno in 1998 is not unsubstantial: numbers are not available for the economic impact of the 1998 "bowlers/gamers" but is is estimated that the 1995 tournament (when 95,000 bowlers competed over a multi-month period) was worth $230 million" for the community (John Stearns, 1998, "ABC Rolls Final Strike: lack of Bowling Tournament in 1999 Concerns Casinos" in Reno Gazette-Journal, June 28, page 1E and 6E, page 6E) In a story that casino advocates love to see (because it could happen to anyone!), in June 1998, one could read the following: "In Reno For Bowling Tourney, Teacher Wins $[US]1.3 Mil" by Neil Baron (Reno-Gazette Journal, Best Bets, June 18-24, 1998, page 25). For similar "winning" announcements, for example, please see http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/980706/ms_hollywo_1.html.

In November 1998 the California initiative concerning Native American gaming in the state will be interesting since Las Vegas is not immune to outside events: in the 1994 Fiscal Year, a Las Vegas "Visitor Profile" reported that 33% of the "domestic visitors" to Las Vegas came from California and for the 1997 Fiscal Year it was down to 28% from California! (As reported by Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream." International Gaming & Wagering Business, July, page 1, pages 26-31, page 29) Quoted above, but, worth repeating, Connor wrote the following:

"Imagine a California with 40 or more Foxwood-sized gaming facilities, many lining the thoroughfares leading from Southern California to the Nevada border, each aggressively wooing the millions of customers from the population centers of Anaheim and San Diego to the gambling meccas of Las Vegas, Reno, Stateline, and Laughlin. That's the doomsday prediction of some gaming observers watching the action in California.... [stress added]" (Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream." International Gaming & Wagering Business, July, page 1, pages 26-31, page 1 and 26).

It is also clear that "the spread of casinos around the country may be contributing to problem gambling among college students" and even younger students: in New Jersey, for example, "gambling is festering in every high school and college" according to the Director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling (Edward Looney) who described it as "absolutely epidemic." (Kia Shant'e Breux, 1998, "Call Of The Casino Louder than College." The San Francisco Chronicle, April 23) As these high school and college students get older they might continue to gamble and elsewhere we read the following:

"But what is the easy availability of gambling doing to us? One macroeconomic problem is the industry's voracious appetite for cash; it's a black hole that eats money without returning a socially useful product to the community. ... The industry's need for big losers [or millions of small losers I might add!] contributes to personal bankruptcies, broken marriages, and even suicides. And then there is the crime.... John Kindt, a professor of commerce and legal policy at the University of Illinois, argues that for every $[US]1 in tax revenue that gambling raises, it creates $[US]3 in costs to handle such scourges as economic disruption, compulsive gambling, and crime" [stress added]." (Martin Koughan, 1997, "Easy Money." MotherJones, July-August, Vol. 22, No. 4, pages 32-37, page 36)

It would be interesting to analyze "personal bankruptcies" in the United States of America and determine what relationship there is, if any, between those individuals who "gamble/game" and those who declare bankruptcy: "The number of personal bankruptcies in the United States will rocket to more than 2.2 million by 2001 - a 75 percent gain over 1997 levels - according to the study released by Visa USA" (Anon., 1998, "Bankruptcy Seen As Increasingly Popular." The San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, Page B2) A few months prior to this, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

"Don't let the rosy economic picture fool you: It's not all good news out there. ... a surge in personal bankruptcies. Across the country, the study shows, there were 13.6 personal bankruptcies per 1,000 households in 1997--a rise of almost 75% in the past three years. The study looked at 323 metropolitan areas nationwide. The news is particularly unfavorable in California. Although the bankruptcy rate grew a relatively modest 48% in the state, the rate itself was much higher than the overall U.S. mark: 17.2 California households per thousand filed for bankruptcy in 1997. Statewide, the highest bankruptcy rates were found in [the southern part of the state] in Riverside-San Bernardino and Los Angeles-Long Beach" [stress added]." (Tamar Hausman, "Some Good News, Some Bad." The Wall Street Journal, May 27, page CA4)

In the metropolitan area of Chico-Paradise, California, the bankruptcy rate was given as 11.1/1,000 households, below the national average and well-below the California average. The Chico-Paradise area, however, was the second highest in the state in "Chapter 7" bankruptcies (96 percent of all filings were in this category): this is when individuals liquidate all assets to pay creditors; if you recall the geographical location of Memphis, Tennessee (approximately 45 miles, or 72 kilometers northeast of Tunica, Mississippi), the report states that "Residents of Memphis, Tenn., have a bankruptcy rate of 42.3 per thousand households--the highest in the country." This I believe, is worthy of additional research even though the American Gaming Association pointed out the following:

"Finally, it is instructive to listen to bankruptcy filers themselves. A national poll of 522 bankruptcy filers in 1996 found that only 2% cited gambling debts as a major factor in their bankruptcy. Meanwhile, 63% cited credit card bills and 50% cited job loss/pay cuts as their main reason for bankruptcy." (Keith Whyte, 1997, "Rounding Up The Usual Suspects.")

A leading critic of the gaming industry, Tom Grey (a Methodist Minister from the State of Illinois and Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling) has gone on record as opposing the proliferation of gambling in this country:

"Gaming will face opposition to its expansion across the country until it owns up to its economic and social downsides, a leading anti-gambling advocate charges. 'The more gambling persists in its denial, in its arrogance, the bottom line is they're going to have big problems,' said Tom Grey...." (Jeff German and Larry Henry, 1997, "Gaming Foe: Industry's Arrogance Sparks Opposition." Las Vegas Sun, September 26, pages 1-10A, page 1)

Addiction to gaming is not, of course, limited to the United States of America: in 1998 an article in The Wall Street Journal pointed out that electronic slot machines were the "crack cocaine of gambling" in Alberta, Canada, and the Provincial Government is the biggest addict of them all as a result of the revenues collected by the province (Tasmin Carlisle, 1998, "Gambling Machines Put Calgary Group At Odds With Government." The Wall Street Journal, April 3, page A15.) And when government becomes too dependent or "addicted" to gaming revenues for day-to-day operations, what happens? To give one an idea of community-dependence on "gaming" revenue, consider the case of the city of Commerce, California, the state's largest casino (a 146,000 square foot card room with 223 tables).

"The Commerce Club grossed $114 million in its last fiscal year, sending $13.5 million to the City of Commerce--about 40% of the city's operating budget" (Anon., 1996, "Cash-rich and Controversial" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, November, pages 56-57, page 56).

There can be problems when revenue does not meet expectations but when that money comes in! Returning to Nevada, allow me to quote from a July 3, 1998 statement by the Reno-based Comstock Bank:

"Northern Nevada's gaming economy will continue to slip under the assault of increased competition, and tax revenues will continue to erode and affect public coffers if action isn't taken.... Comstock Bank acknowledges in the report that its opinions aren't universally accepted. But as a community bank, it says it feels obligated to educate the public about what it considers serious issues. For a detailed report, see Comstock's web site at http://www.comstockbank.com) [stress added]." (John Stearns, 1998, "Gaming Threatened." Reno Gazette-Journal, July 3, Pages 1E and 3E, page 1E)

Finally, on July 15, 1998, the following appeared: "A slump for Las Vegas Strip resorts held the May [1998] win for all Nevada casinos to $[US]690.5 million, causing a fiscal year-end tax shortfall of $[US]16.2 million for the state" (Anon., USA Today, July 15, page 9A)

V. ON-GOING TEMPORARY CONCLUSIONS

"The only way for a desert town to stay alive is to reinvent itself over and over again. Las Vegas is dead if it ever stands still as it lacks natural attractions and historical landmarks (the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign doesn't count). This fact isn't lost upon the more farsighted members of the gaming industry there and elsewhere [stress added]." (Charles Anderer, 1998, "Editorial" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, July, page 4.)

Las Vegas currently has some 106,100 hotel rooms and attracts approximately more than 30,000,000 visitors a year, or let us say some 82,192 visitors a day, and for 1997 (according to an industry tracking firm) the city's occupancy was a phenomenal 86.4 percent and more casinos/resorts are being built! (Anon., 1998, "Las Vegas Tops Occupancy Report." Reno Gazette-Journal, May 21, page E1) Not everyone, however, agrees with unlimited development in Las Vegas:

"These are hard times for several casino operators, and the betting around town is that they will get even harder. ... Behind all the troubles appears to be a shift in the industry's fundamentals. Historically in this desert town, each new casino seemed to magically fill with new gamblers without stealing business from competitors. ... But demand for new casinos no longer appears infinite. ... That has caused tensions among competitors, causing some to rethink the industry's motto: 'If you build it they will come; we don't subscribe to that theory,' Harrah's Mr. Satre says [stress added]." (Christina Binkley, 1998, "Gamble On Las Vegas Hotel-Casinos May Not Pay Off." The Wall Street Journal, April 1)

I am not too sure when and where it will all end since gaming/gambling is not entertainment but a big business. Although May 6, 1998 was the day of the "500 millionth visitor to Las Vegas since 1960" in June of 1998 the following appeared:

"There were 2,579,068 tourists visiting Las Vegas in April, down from 2,612,980 during April'97, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority figures show. The LCVA's report also said 9,994,991 people visited the city between January and April, compared to 10,267,665 for the same period in '97" [stress added]" (Anon., 1998, USA Today, June 23, page 8A; and see Anon., 1998, "500 Millionth Visitor to LV Wins Big." The San Francisco Chronicle, Datebook, July 12-18, page 69)

Steve Wynn must have surely winced (had he seen) an article in Wired of July 1998 by Richard Kadrey discussing the growth of Las Vegas and the construction being done on The Venetian (which will open in April 1999. When eventually completed, this casino/resort will have more than 6,000 rooms (or actually "suites") and as Kadrey writes: "The Mirage and Treasure Island hotels across the street already look less like big-time resorts and more like failed Disneyland rides" (Richard Kadrey, 1998, "History Lite, No Chaser: A Vegas Developer Is Building Venice In The Desert Because He Can." Wired, Vol. 6.07, July, pages 136-139 and page 169, page 138) The evolutionary competition is fierce and indeed, for those who have "invested" (gambled?) in certain "Casino stocks" in the past, they have already learned about the "Darwinian nature" of this entertainment world as an article in Business Week of June 29, 1998, pointed out:

"Casino stocks have been a losing bet all year. Most of them have tanked because of the slump in Las Vegas. Circus Circus Enterprises (CIR) has been no exception, with its stock at just 16, down from 26 in mid-March. On top of the glut of hotels in Las Vegas, Circus stock has also been reeling from dashed hopes of a takeover by Hilton Hotels. ... Both companies badly need a combination because of the increased competition in the industry [stress added]." (Gene G. Marcial, 1998, "A Second Run For Circus Circus" in Business Week, June 29, page 126).

The same issue of Business Week also had the following:

"These are trying times for Las Vegas casino operators. And the betting is things will get worse before they get better. A casino-building boom along Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Strip, has created an overcapacity of hotel rooms, squeezing room prices, occupancy rates, and profits." (Stephanie Anderson Forest, 1998, "A Different Kind of Bet On Las Vegas." Business Week, June 29, page 124)

For those who follow the industry, it should not be a surprise that this is the case since in July 1997, the following appeared:

"Investors in gambling stocks have been holding a losing hand while the rest of the market has soared" and "Forget the casino euphemism 'gaming.' Call casino stocks what they are; gambling stocks. The industry's CBOE index of casino issues plunged 26% the past year [1996-1997] while the Standard & Poor's 500 climbed 38%. If you were unlucky enough to put your money down 13 months ago [in 1996] when the casino index hit its peak, you'd be out 39%. You'd have had a lot more gun playing the Las Vegas slots: the machines are rigged [!] to keep only 5.5% of patrons' money [ stress added]." (David Henry, 1997, "Casino Stocks Deal Investors Weak Hand." USA Today, July 10, page 3B)

Gambling on the gaming industry, nevertheless, continues to interest investors. On March 4, 1996, a survey of 417 companies was published in Fortune and based on "eight attributes of reputation" Fortune had a casino firm among the top ten "most admired" US companies: Mirage Resorts ranked #8. Please note that (a) Mirage was not even listed the previous year, (b) Mirage Resorts was ranked #1 in the category of "Quality of Products of Services" and (c) Coca-Cola (which was ranked #3) last year was, in 1996, the #1 "admired" company in the United States of America in 1996! (Anne B. Fisher, 1996, "America's Most Prominent Corporations." Fortune, Vol. 133, No. 4, pages 90-98) American values are changing but the stock market is still a form of gambling. Casino stocks (just as the stock market itself) are not "sure bets" as the following table points out. Although the American Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 7722.33 on July 1, 1997 and had reached 9048.67 on July 1, 1998, looking at the following "gaming" stocks for the same time period shows that all 25 were "losers" in this sub-set of the overall American stock market (based on information available in the Reno Gazette-Journal of July 2, 1998, page 3E.) Nothing is guaranteed (and see http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Jan'98_Millennium_Paper.html).

COMPANY
STOCK PRICE/share on JULY 1, 1998 (in U.S. Dollars)
HIGHEST VALUE OF STOCK OVER THE PERIOD JULY 1, 1997-JUNE 30, 1998
LOWEST VALUE OF STOCK OVER THE PERIOD JULY 1, 1997-JUNE 30, 1998
Alliance
4
6 5/8
3 9/16
Ameristar
4 15/16
6 1/2
4 3/4
AnchGem
74 1/4
99 1/2
42 1/2
Aztar
6 15/16
9 15/16
5 7/8
Boyd Gaming
6 1/16
9 1/4
5
Casino Data Sys.
2 7/8
7 5/8
2 1/2
Circus Circus
17 1/8
26 11/16
15 1/2
Grand Casino
16 3/8
19 1/8
12
Harrah's
23 1/2
26 3/8
16 15/16
Harveys
27 5/16
30
16 3/8
Hilton Hotels
28 11/16
35 13/16
26 1/16
HlwdPk
12 3/16
22 3/4
10 1/2
IGT
24 5/16
28 11/16
16
InovGme
3
6 1/8
1 3/4
Jackpot Ent.
12 9/16
13 15/16
10 5/8
MGM Grand
32 3/16
46 7/8
26 9/16
Microsft
109 3/8
108 9/16
59
Mikohn Gaming
6 3/16
9
4 1/4
Mirage
22 1/16
30 3/8
20
Monarch
6 3/8
8 3/8
3 5/8
Primadonna
14 15/16
20
14
Rio Hotel
18 11/16
29 1/8
14 1/2
RoyGld
4 15/16
9 3/8
4
Sands Regent
2
3 1/8
1 9/16
Santa Fe Gaming
1 1/8
2 3/4
5/8
Sodak
6 3/8
15 3/8
5 3/8

If someone had a single share of each of the above stocks on July 1, 1998, that person would have a total dollar amount of $US488.375 invested in these 26 stocks and in the past twelve months, they would have seen their "total share prices" fluctuate from a high of $631.8125 to a low of $346.4375. If one removes the anomaly of "Microsoft" from the above table (but used by the Reno Gazette-Journal in their listing), the twelve-month swing is almost as dramatic: now the 25 stocks (less Microsoft) would be worth $US379 as of July 1, 1998, down from a 1997-1998 "high" of $523.2625 or up from a 1997-1998 "low" of $284.4375. Please note that every-single-one of the stocks listed above as of July 1, 1998 (except for the anomalous Microsoft) have a lower value than their highest value in the past 12 months! Clearly then, the stock market is a gamble!

What will happen in the near future (and far future) is not predictable; as an anthropologist I shall continue to follow this lucrative (for some) ever-changing industry and am delighted that some of the "winnings" of Native Americans are being applied directly to interests that concern the general public as well as anthropologists! Certain of the educational activities of The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation deserves to be highlighted: in addition to providing $US10 Million to the Smithsonian for the future Native American Museum one also notes the following:

"Opening to the public on August 11, 1998, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center will present the on-going story of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and provide resources for the study of American Indian cultures and histories. Located on the tribe's reservation in Mashantucket, Connecticut, the institution - the only American Indian-owned and operated of its kind - will promote American Indian heritage, scholarship, and cultural preservation through a dynamic public museum and a major research facility." (http://www.Mashantucket.com/cont.htm)

Carmichael has written about the Mashantucket Pequot: "There are many with roles to play as the gaming industry develops but who will be the winners and who will be the losers?" (Barbara Carmichael 1998, "Foxwoods Resort Casino, Connecticut--A Mega-Attraction: Who Wants It? Who Benefits?" Casinos Gambling in America: Origins, Trends, And Impacts, edited by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt and Rudi Hartmann, page 75). Rose (mentioned above) has written about "gambling" in the United States that "the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century will be the final boom. By 2029 it will be all outlawed, again, for awhile" (I. Nelson Rose, 1991,"The Rise and Fall of the Third Wave: Gambling Will Be Outlawed in Forty Years" in Gambling and Public Policy: International Perspectives, Edited by W.R. Eadington and J.A. Cornelius, pp. 65-86, page 83).

As with any big business, it is also a gamble from any perspective, anthropological or otherwise! Advertising, marketing, regulations/laws and court cases, as well as technology (including "tracking" various players for "comps" as well as the "Internet") will all have a bearing on the future of gambling/gaming in the United States of America (as well as the rest of the world) and will continue to influence the on-going redistribution of resources (or money) that is an on-going aspect of the gaming industry. Please consider some current (and future?) aspects of "advertising and technology" in some unusual ways when it comes to this "entertainment" industry:

"Consumers associate certain smells with perfume counters, cookie stores, even sporting goods outlets. Now gamblers may get a whiff of an odor that supposedly makes them risk more money, a researcher said recently. An undisclosed scent manufactured by a Chicago-based firm was suffused through a bank of slot machines in Las Vegas over the weekend and the machines took in an average of 45 percent more money.... 'It is quite possible that, within the next few years, the use of odorants as a gambling incentive will be as common as the neon lights in the streets of Las Vegas,' Alan Hirsch, a neurologist who conducted the study, said [stress added!]" (Anon., 1992, "Secret Scent Increases Urge To Gamble, Casino Tests Show." The San Francisco Chronicle, September 9.)

If readers of these web-pages think this is an incredulous statement, please consider the 1995 words of industry analyst Byron Liggettt as they appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal, in response to a question "Is it true that casinos use certain fragrances to induce customers to gamble more? [stress in original]." The complete published answer was as follows:

"A year-long study at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1992 indicated that certain aromas caused slot players to spend as much as 45 percent more. Since then, numerous casinos have used the science of scents to create a comfortable, conducive environment. Scent manufacturers and casinos consider the use of aromas to be no different than the employment of lighting, sound and decor to create a positive gambling environment [stress added]." (Byron Liggett , 1995, "Gaming QA." Reno Gazette-Journal, January 19-25, page 19).

Indeed, as one has written (again, recalling the Darwinian metaphor that I began with):

"The competitive balance of the gaming industry is tipping towards operators who invest in technology and away from those who don't. While media attention is most focused on potential mergers and bright new projects, major new technological developments are taking place that will have a more lasting impact on the industry. The advent of powerful software systems for information management and player tracking is giving savvy operators a competitive edge. ... It is creating a distinct and deepening chasm between the industry's 'haves' and 'have-nots'; this is manifesting itself in the financial performance of certain operators, as well as their waning reputations with consumers [stress added]." (Jacquelyn Bivins, 1998, "The Indispensable Investment: Betting on Technology" in The New Paths To Profits: Technology Strategies for the Gaming Industry, a supplement to International Gaming & Wagering Business, June, pages 6-13, page 6)

The overall "environment " is changing and will "organisms" adapt to the changing environments? Will corporations/casinos survive or perish? While the gambling/gaming/entertainment industry doesn't like to dwell upon mistakes, there have been (from my perspective) past errors of judgment: will downtown Reno be able to "bounce back" or will expansion take place well beyond the downtown core area? Boomtown Hotel/Casino Family Fun Center, seven miles west of Reno on Interstate 80 is planning to build a $[US]460 million "mega-resort"," a project that was opposed by the residents of the immediate area!

"Say no to Boomtown. Say no to the Hilton. Say no to future Reno expansion because when California gets [expanded] gaming very shortly, we can say no to ourselves here in Reno. We'll dry up and blow away in the wind." (Don Cox, 1997, "If Gaming Dies...Reno Flounders; Vegas Glitters." Reno Gazette-Journal, December 27, page 1 and page 7A, page 1)

"Yes, Reno needs to change its attitude. Not Las Vegas: It's destroying itself with growth, but we've gone too far resisting change. ... The result is that Las Vegas, once a cheap imitation of Reno built in the middle of nowhere, is now the capital of the casino world and Reno is wondering how it will survive into the next century. (Anon., 1998, "Editorial." Reno Gazette-Journal, January 4, page 6C)

Darwinian competition is swift and on-going and perhaps the phrase of "if you wish to leave a casino with a small fortune, go there with a large one" is applicable to individuals as well as corporations who wish to make money in the gambling, gaming, entertainment business! Will the attempt by the Harrah's Jazz Corporation, or another entity, to create a massive casino in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, eventually succeed?

"It seemed a sure bet: casino gambling in Sin City. Instead, big gambling has crapped out in the Big Easy. A $[US]830 million casino under construction next to the French Quarter sits half-finished, the project all but dead. And the last riverboat casino in downtown New Orleans closed this week." (Anon., 1997, "Casinos In New Orleans Turn Out To Be Bad Gamble." The San Francisco Chronicle, October 4.)

Will Las Vegas casino/resorts cooperate in their cultural environment and work together to draw more "visitors" in to that "destination" city and assist them in getting around the congested areas (but also move them to competing locations!)?

"A proposed monorail serving the Las Vegas Strip remains on track, despite efforts by a hotel to derail it. ... Because the Venetian and the Desert Inn do not want the monorail to pass through or stop on their properties, the system would not serve the part of Las Vegas Boulevard north of Sands Avenue. Besides the Desert Inn, that area includes the Fashion Show Mall and the New Frontier. The train would be an extension of an existing monorail between the MGM Grand and Bally's." (Anon., 1998, "Elevated Train Still Has Green Light." Reno Gazette-Journal, July 9, page 7D)

"A proposed monorail system will bypass The Venetian and the Desert Inn, making stops along the Strip only at Bally's, the MGM Grand, the Aladdin, Harrah's and Imperial Palace, said the group seeking city permission to build the line. The Venetian and Desert Inn said a monorail would devalue their properties" [stress added]." (Anon., 1998, USA Today, July 8, 1998, page 13A)

Will Las Vegas casino/resorts ever stop growing and expanding and will they ever cease making massive, and expensive, changes after they have opened (and have supposedly spent years in planning the opening)? To wit, some of the Las Vegas changes my wife and I have observed over the years (aside from implosions!) include the poker area in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas being transformed into a food court, the removal of the interior water ride in the Luxor Hotel Casino, the remodeling of the "Grand Slam" at Circus Circus, and the change in the "Lion entrance" (and immediate interior) at MGM Grand. These are but a few of industry alterations I have observed in the past years (not to mention the closing of The Lummi Nation Casino in the state of Washington and the layoffs at Harrah's Skagit Valley Casino): does anyone learn from previous mistakes? And if "they" continue to "build" in Las Vegas, will they come? The answers to the above two questions appear to be a qualified "maybe." Yes, learning and adaptation are apparently taking place in Las Vegas (the number one "gaming destination" in the United States of America) in response to changes in the overall environment; and yes, it appears "they" (or "we") will continue to travel to the Las Vegas in the immediate future, because Las Vegas is reinventing itself:

"LAS VEGAS - Never mind the slot machines. Which way to the mall? And the food? Entertainment, shopping and fine dining have replaced gambling as the top attraction for visitors to Las Vegas.... For the first time, Las Vegas is perceived by more visitors as an 'entertainment' destination (50%) than as a 'gaming' destination (48%) the survey said. And international tourists, who make up 19% of the city's 30.5 million annual visitors, list shopping as their leading activity in Las Vegas, followed by dining, then gambling. ... The survey was conducted over the past eight months by Plog and GLS Research of San Francisco and covered more than 8,000 travelers. It will be used as a guideline as Las Vegas shapes future marketing plans. ... 'The fact is Las Vegas will change more in the next two years than it ever has,' said Manny Cortez, the president of the visitors authority. Competition is a growing concern and a reason why major players here are expanding beyond gambling. The survey said that by the year 2000, some 90% of the U.S. population will be within 200 miles of casino-style gambling. It found that 30% of visitors to Las Vegas in the past year would have visited more often if not for alternative gambling destinations [stress added]." (Robert Macy, 1998, "Vegas Visitors Find Fun Without Games." USA Today, July 17, page 1D)

VI. FINAL WORDS

I began this paper with Thomas Jefferson and begin ending with some words from the 18th Century distinguished statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) who wrote that "gaming is a principle inherent in human nature" and I argue that we all "gamble" to some extent. In 1996 Peter L. Bernstein published Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, and he wrote the following:

"The essence of risk management lies in maximizing the areas where we have some control over the outcome while minimizing the areas where we have absolutely no control over the outcome and the linkage between effect and cause is hidden from us" (Peter L. Bernstein, 1996, Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, page 197).

"Risk-management" is an on-going endeavor for all of us, from getting to this remarkable 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences meeting to departing and living our individual lives. In finally concluding, I wish to end with one theory and three statements: my personal theory is that individuals gamble so we/they can be in "control" of decision-making activities: it is only a theory, or, perhaps a working hypothesis. So much of our daily lives are beyond our control that we "gamble" to take back some control (and perhaps we are "entertained" by the games of chance). The first statement I'll mention is my own and the other two come from other individuals. The first statement is: if you wish to "gamble" in any casino (or take any sort of risks in life), it is best if you "know before you go!" The second statement comes from an "industry" professional: Thomas Austin Preston (also known as Amarillo Slim) who stated it well when he was quoted as saying that some "dudes [are] in the category of guessers, and guessers are losers" (Anthony Holden, 1990, Big Deal: A Year As A Professional Poker Player, page 164).

Finally, "human nature" (as well as "culture") plays a part in all that we do and I end this presentation with the words of Jean Cocteau (1889-1963): "We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?"

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1. © Prepared for presentation on July 29, 1998 at the Symposium entitled "Domestic Tourism And Education" (with numerous slides and transparencies, not included on these pages) for The 14th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, The College of William & Mary (with the overall Congress Theme being "The 21st Century: The Century of Anthropology"), 26 July - 1 August 1998. I have been a member of the faculty at California State University, Chico, since August 1973 and enjoy teaching tremendously; for the 1997-1999 Academic Years I was chosen by my peers to be one of five "Master Teachers" to assist various faculty members in issues concerning teaching. This paper builds upon, and draws from, earlier public presentations and various web-based items (http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Gaming/GAMING_Nov'97.html, http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Gaming/geo_of_gaming.html, http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban//Gaming/to_gamble.html, and http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/FApr11-96.html) as well as presented papers (Urbanowicz 1994 and 1998) and published items (Urbanowicz, 1977, 1989, and in press); incidentally, at the time this web-paper was completed on July 20, 1998, all of the more than seventy links on these pages were "live" links. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife Sadie, who has always been most supportive of all of my research. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance and support of Dr. Jack Safarik, a friend and colleague, who has shared a great deal of his knowledge with me; thanks also for the support provided by the Thursday Seminar and the CL Group! To return to the beginning of this paper, please click here. (PLEASE NOTE: On August 17, 1998, a slight modification was made to the "Casino Square Footage" information above.)


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