GGB is committed to providing updated news and analysis on our weekly news site, GGBNews.com.

Mixed Media

There are so many anti-gaming "experts" out there, I believe I must try to balance out the shrill negative naysayers with a positive, progressive message.

Mixed Media

The media are kind of like women. Can’t live with ’em; can’t live without ’em.

I’ve spent a good portion of my career trying to educate members of the mainstream media on the realities of gaming. Granted, I’m biased toward our industry, but there are so many anti-gaming “experts” out there, I believe I must try to balance out the shrill negative naysayers with a positive, progressive message.

But obviously, I can’t do everything, and most stories get written without my input and therefore become “hatchet jobs.”

One such article was a cover story in Time magazine last month, “Fabulous Less Vegas.” The author, Joel Stein, confesses with embarrassment that he’s come to love the city over the past 10 years, and even penned a paean-read “puff piece”-to Vegas five years ago as a cover story for the same magazine.

This time, however, Stein seems to be rejoicing in the Vegas troubles. He celebrates the fall from grace of the huge casinos on the Strip and even seems to gloat that small homeowners in the city are being hit with the same punishment for the same crimes. He finds a convenient speculator upon which he pins the sins of the entire city.

And then, of course, Stein is puzzled by the fact that the optimism that made Las Vegas great didn’t disappear. He actually makes a bet with Steve Wynn against the city’s recovery. Shows exactly how much he truly “loves” Las Vegas.

Now, I saw the way Time magazine works back in the early 1990s when it sent a team of reporters to Atlantic City to document the “slums in the shadows of casino palaces” story that was, even at that time, an image of the past. But they could not be dissuaded by the truth, and sure enough, the cover photo showed a homeless man sleeping under a lifeguard boat in the very shadow of a casino. Great image, just not very accurate.

If Stein were just one of the “drive-by” journalists who pop in to make judgments about the town and the gaming industry as a whole, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it seems the mainstream media is feasting on Las Vegas these days.

No, the elite media is taking pleasure in the difficulties of the gaming industry in general, and Las Vegas in particular. For example: Chicago Sun Times writer Neil Steinberg parachutes into Vegas (at the request of his son on a family vacation) to do a piece he so cleverly calls “What Happens in Vegas: Little Good.” He’s in town for less than 24 hours and manages to complain about his hotel (Excalibur), timeshare shills, and even-horror of horrors-gambling itself!

It’s often amazing to me that these kinds of pieces get written without as much as a call to the hotel or seemingly any editorial oversight whatsoever.

But the newspapers and magazines certainly aren’t alone. There have been numerous stories on radio and television that tread the same ground claimed by the “parachute” journalists.

And it doesn’t just happen in the U.S., either. The joy with which journalists are reporting the travails in Macau is undeniable. Stanley Ho’s illness last month was quickly followed up by speculation about who would succeed him, as if it were a foregone conclusion that he would die. And barbs directed at Australian Jamie Packer and his ill-fated gaming investments have that same air of retaliation and celebration.

No, I don’t have much hope that this will change anytime soon. This feeding frenzy and obvious glee at the misfortunes of the gaming industry will continue. And in the long run, it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that we provide the best service and continue to offer first-class facilities for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. Because, in the end, that’s the heart and soul of gaming, not some silly journalist who thinks he’s being witty and “original” by describing how “sad” he is that the casinos are hurting. Our revenge will be returning to prosperity and offering quality experiences to all who cross our thresholds.  

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.

    Related Articles

  • My Macau

    The “zero tolerance” Covid policy of mainland China and the crackdown on the VIP sector has had a devastating affect on Macau, changing the gaming market forever.

  • No Room For Nostalgia

    In the casino industry, a new, bright and shiny property is usually more attractive than the old and historical, and that's not a bad thing.

  • The Future Is Now

    Predicting the future is no easy task, but if you look close enough you can discover the trends and innovations that will shape the casino industry in the years to come.

  • Ghosts in the Machine

    The integration of gaming technology with live dealers offers a new venue for players, one with a human touch.

  • Gonna Take a Miracle

    Memories and miracles in Mississippi, now celebrating 30 years in gaming.

    Recent Feature Articles

  • Back to Basics: 10 Trends for 2023

    The 10 Trends for 2023 do not start with the recovery from the pandemic

  • Doing the Math

    The creativity of game design goes hand in hand with what keeps players at the game—the program math

  • Everything to Everyone

    Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim aims for the top, but will technology be his foil?

  • Regulating the Regulators

    Should regulators of the multi-state, billion-dollar casino industry come from the outside?

  • Paying It Forward

    How payment technology has successfully met the challenges of today’s gaming industry