The VT Interview With David G. Schwartz, UNLV Gaming Historian

Cutting the Wire and Rolling Bones in Suburban Xanadu

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: If you had one piece of advice for someone traveling to Las Vegas for the first time, what would it be?

DS: This time of year [Summer - Ed], drink a lot of water. Also, take some advice from Million Dollar Baby and "protect yourself at all times." I've spent enough time talking with Metro's Tourist Safety Unit to hear about some bad stuff that goes on, plus my time in casino security taught me a lot. Many people let their guard down because their on vacation, but crime knows no holiday. So have fun, but be aware.

VT: Last album you've listened to in its entirety on your iPod/cd player?

DS: I'll make a retro revelation here: when I'm writing I like to listen to LPs. Right now I've got Henry Threadgill's You Know the Number on my turntable. Because I'm at work, I'm listening to Internet radio--today it's

VT: The coolest casino executive you've ever met is...

DS: I don't think you can call Steve Wynn a "casino executive," so he's out of the running for this one. I'll say MGM Mirage's Alan Feldman. He's, I think, the best Public Affairs guy in the industry, and is always incredibly knowledgeable. I don't think that there's any question he couldn't answer. Plus, he's got an appreciation for history, which is sometimes uncommon in this industry.

VT: Thus ends the lightning round. What other projects are you currently working (plug your shit... we don't mind at all)

DS: Right now, in addition to all kinds of stuff for the Center for Gaming Research, I've got some major stuff to plug. Cutting the Wire: Gambling Prohibition and the Internet, is available on right now. It's actually cheaper than Harry Potter, which is a selling point, I guess. And I don't think Potter talks about the mob and the Kennedys, which I do. I finished that book over a year ago, though, so my big current project is Roll the Bones, a general history of gambling. I start with gambling at the beginnings of civilization and wrap up with the explosion of Internet poker. It's taken me about a year to write, and right now is 752 pages in MS Word, which translates into about 500 pages in book form. I think that a lot of people will like this book, which isn't any kind of academic monograph, but just tells the story of gambling. It'll be out next year around the time of the World Series of Poker. You can check out my progress on

VT: Thanks Dave for taking the time to chat with us. May the Schwartz be with you, always.

DS: Thanks!

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damn good interview.

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