Chris Christie called me stupid.
Well, at least that’s what the typically overreacting mainstream press is blaring about New Jersey’s governor as I write this, latching on to a comment Christie made while introducing the new head of the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Since we in the gaming trade press never overreact or seek the shock value of blaring headlines (“BETRAYAL: Inside the Thermal Printing Scandal!”), I’m here to give you the real scoop on what the governor said.
Christie, in promoting the one thing Atlantic City has that few other casino centers in the U.S. can boast—a real, live beach and ocean—simply said Atlantic City beats Las Vegas hands-down during the summer. “Why would you go to the middle of the desert in the summer?” he said. “You’d have to be stupid to do that. Come to Atlantic City, where there’s a beautiful beach—gamble if you want to.”
Naturally, the headlines blared, “NJ Governor Brands Las Vegas Visitors ‘Stupid!’”
As Curly used to say, I resemble that remark.
But the man does have a point. OK, this year was kind of an exception, as the summertime temperatures in the Nevada desert fell into the two-digit category more than any summer in recent memory. I was in Las Vegas in early August, and it was absolutely freezing—102 or 103 degrees, at most.
Typical Las Vegas summer months involve virtual strolls through a blast furnace. Still, I’ve been in Las Vegas just about every summer for the past couple of decades, and you know what? As long as you don’t walk outside at 2 in the afternoon, you generally don’t die.
Therefore, anyone who doesn’t go for an afternoon stroll wearing a down coat when it’s 117 degrees can’t really be called “stupid” for preferring the desert over a gorgeous, sunny day on the beach, right? Yeah, the guy has a point. (But I do prefer the desert to hurricanes.)
These days, though, there are lots of new reasons to go to Las Vegas in the summertime, or even better, in the fall, when the most important event on the calendar takes place. Yes, I’m talking about that annual networking event to which each of us in the gaming industry look forward all year: the start of football season.
There is now an outdoor walk-up betting window for the Lucky’s sports book at the Riviera. How cool is that? It fits in perfectly with the fall season, that time when we can begin to actually walk outside in Las Vegas. Because, you know, you wouldn’t want to waste time with a healthy walk in the outdoor breeze without getting in some gambling.
In fact, we in the gaming industry support the notion that, unlike those visiting that gaming-slash-beach-resort town in the East, visitors to Nevada should not waste any time involved with leisure activities, such as eating and sleeping, without the opportunity to wager at the same time. As I write this, Nevada regulators are working on the first set of regulations for online poker. (Well, it’s Sunday as I write this, so probably not. But you get my point.) Soon, we’ll be able to gamble while we’re waiting for room service.
Don’t say it. Poker isn’t gambling; it’s a skill-based game. But Nevada also is at the forefront of mobile gambling, so the day is coming when we won’t need to waste good gambling time in useless activities such as brushing our teeth. Besides, like I said, it’s football season.
Oh, yes—there’s one other thing happening this fall. Let’s see, what was that? Oh, yeah! There’s a trade show, isn’t there?
Welcome to the first Global Gaming Expo to be held at the Sands Convention Center, and the first time I will be back there since the old International Gaming Business Exposition. (For you youngsters out there, that was a trade show.) Normally, my column for trade-show month makes wisecracks about “roundtable discussions” and the latest industry buzzwords. This year, the new buzzword is “disruptive.”
More than one executive I interviewed for the big slot feature said success comes through creating “disruptive technology”—you know, technology that shakes things up, that changes everything, like the light bulb, or the flush toilet. Both will be well represented at the G2E show, I’m sure. But do we really need a new piece of jargon to join things like “synergy” and “eater-tainment” and “interoperability” and the “gamification of loyalty?”
Maybe I’m just not the sharpest tool in the shed. I guess Christie was right.