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INDUSTRIES: Business History of Gaming
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May 26, 1887 - Racetrack betting became legal in New York state.

1894 - Charles August Fey invented, manufactured slot machines in shop at 406 Market Street, San Francisco; pioneered many innovations of coin operated gaming devices; 1899 - introduced original three-reel bell slot machine, named Liberty Bell (three spring-loaded reels bearing strips of symbols-bells, horseshoes, stars, card suits); installed machines in bars, taverns, stores on "revenue sharing" basis; first modern style slot machine (design still used in mechanical gaming devices).

January 17, 1905 - Charles A. Brewer, Clinton G. Scannell of Chicago, IL, received a patent for a "Vending Device"; punchboard; never before available in neat, portable form; invention of board stuffing machines, ticket folding, plaiting machines in late 1910s probably allowed punchboard industry to flourish.

May 15, 1905 - San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Co. auctioned 110 acres of land, created a town site, calling it "Las Vegas."

March 19, 1931 - Nevada legalized gambling in attempt to lift state out of hard times of Great Depression, stem population flight.

November 29, 1932 - Laurens Hammond of Chicago, IL received a patent for a "Card Table with Automatic Dealing Mechanism"; first card game table with an automatic dealing device; deal took about one minute.

1934 - J Arthur Rank (Lord Rank), son of Joseph Rank, scion of flour milling family, entered motion picture industry; 1935 - with Charles Boot and British & Dominions Film Corporation established Pinewood Studios; 1941 - acquires control of Odeon Theatre Group, Gaumont British Picture Corporation; 1955 - Odeon Theatre Group changed name to The Rank Organisation; 1956 - joined forces with Haloid Corporation of America (later re-named Xerox Corporation) to manufacture copying equipment; 1969 - Rank Xerox established as joint-venture company; December 22, 1995 - Rank Group Plc established as public limited company; 1997 - sold part of remaining interest in Rank Xerox (total proceeds from 1995, 1997 sale of about 1.5bn); 2000 - sold Odeon Cinemas for 280m; sold Pinewood Studios for 62m; 2001 - launched to exploit opportunities in on-line gaming; 2006 - agreed to sell Hard Rock Cafes to Seminole Tribe of Florida for $965million.

J Arthur Rank (Lord Rank) - Rank Group Plc  (

June 20, 1947 - Benjamin ''Bugsy'' Siegel was shot dead in Beverly Hills, CA, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his pet project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas; 1945 - Siegel had a brilliant idea Las Vegas, NV had nothing going for it except for a compliant local government and legal gambling. Siegel decided to build the Flamingo Hotel in the middle of the desert with $6,000,000, a chunk of which came from the New York syndicate. Flamingo wasn't immediately profitable and Siegel ended up in an argument with Lucky Luciano over paying back the money used to build it. Around the same time that Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills, Luciano's men walked into the Flamingo and announced that they were now in charge.

May 1, 1961 - Betting shops legal in Britain.

April 27, 1965 - Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, former employee of hydro-electric power project, and Tan Sri Haji Mohammed Noah bin Omar established Genting Highlands Berhad; July 30, 1968 - incorporated Genting Highlands Hotel Sdn Bhd, under Companies Act 1965, to operate hotel and casino, develop integrated tourist complex in Genting Highlands, Malaysia; 1965-1970 - obtained approval, from Pahang and Selangor State Governments for clearing of 12,000 acres, 2,800 acres respectively; March 31, 1969 - YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Ministerm, graced official laying of foundation stone for company’s pioneer hotel, Highlands Hotel, marked completion of access road to Genting Highlands Resort; July 24, 1970 - went public, changed name to Genting Highlands Hotel Berhad; 1971 - first hotel at Genting Highlands successfully completed, opened; June 9, 1978 - changed name to name of Genting Berhad, investment holding and management company of Genting Group; one of largest listed companies in Malaysia.

Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong (right) - Genting Group  (

April 8, 1971 - First legal off-track betting system begins (OTB-New York).

June 2, 1977 - New Jersey allows casino gambling in Atlantic City; May 26, 1978 - The first legal casino in the eastern United States opened in Atlantic City, NJ.

July 6, 1986 - Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation opened original high-stakes bingo parlor in Ledyard, CT; generated $13 million in gross sales, $2.6 million in profits; 1988 - President Reagan signed Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; 1991 - Genting Group (owned by Lim Goh Tong, Malaysian casino king with Genting Highlands casino resort in mountains 25 miles northeast of Kuala Lampur), extended $58 million construction loan ($175 million line of credit in 1993); February 15, 1992 - Foxwoods Resort Casino opened with table games (founded by Richard "Skip" Hayward, leader of the Mashantucket Pequot Indians); 1993 - added slot machines; agreed to pay 25% of slot revenue to state of Connecticut (almost $200 million each year) for exclusive state rights to slot-machine operations; 2007 - Foxwoods comprises six casinos (collectively offer more than 7,000 slot machines, 400 tables for 17 different types of table games, high-tech Race Book, world's largest Bingo Hall); largest casino in the world, with 340,000 square feet of gaming space in complex that covers 4.7 million square feet; more than 40,000 guests visit Foxwoods each day.

October 17, 1988 - President Ronald Reagan signed Indian Gaming Regulatory Act into law; jurisdictional framework regulated Indian gaming; enacted in response to several lawsuits by Indian tribes seeking to operate gaming activities on tribal lands in face of opposition by states; only federally recognized tribes can operate casinos, conduct other gaming activities under IGRA (562 federally recognized Indian tribes in United States); 2001 - 201 tribes operated class II or class III gaming enterprises (total of 290 in 29 states), generated over $12.7 billion in annual revenues (less than 10% of total revenues generated by U.S. gaming industry).

April 15, 1989 - Then largest lottery in North America ($69M) drawn in Illinois.

November 21, 2004 - Donald Trump's casino empire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

May 6, 2008 - Gambling revenue (down about 4% for January, February; 58% of revenue for Las Vegas Strip resorts in 1990, 41% of revenue in 2007 - source: Deutsche Bank), hotel occupancy down (down 1.5% for January, February); resorts are slashing room rates (average daily room rates 3.8% below 2007), offering coupons or free nights, casino operators are firing hundreds of workers, stock prices have plummeted since October;  credit is drying up for hotel, condominium projects planned before  slowdown arrived; people are spending less in Las Vegas; huge inventory of new casinos, hotels due for completion in next few years (40,000 new rooms planned by 2012); foreigners = 13% of visitors; 2007 - average foreign visitor spent $1,200 for purposes other than gambling (up from $1,159 in 2006) vs. average spending of $701 for all visitors in 2007, down from $750 in 2006 (source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority).

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(500 Club), Jonathan Van Meter (2003). The Last Good Time: Skinny D'Amato, the Notorious 500 Club, and the Rise and Fall of Atlantic City. (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 296 p.). D'Amato, Skinny, d. 1984; Atlantic City (N.J.)--History--20th century; Atlantic City (N.J.)--Social life and customs--20th century. 

(Bally Manufacturing Corporation), Christian Marfels (2001). Bally: The World's Game Maker. (Las Vegas, NV: UNLV International Gaming Institute, 177 p.). Bally Manufacturing Corporation--History; International business enterprises--United States--History; Gambling--Equipment and supplies--History; Slot machines--History; Pinball machines--History; Electronic games industry--History; Bingo--History.

(Betfair), Colin Cameron (2009). You Bet: The Betfair Story and How Two Men Changed the World of Gambling. (London, UK: HarperCollins, 320 p.). BBC broadcaster. The Sporting Exchange Limited; Betfair; betting; betting exchange; internet--betting. How Internet betting exchange spawned huge international business success story, created legions of new gamblers, revolutionised worlds of gambling, sport for ever.

(Circus Circus Enterprises), Gary Provost (1994). High Stakes: Inside the New Las Vegas. (New York, NY: Dutton, 326 p.). Circus Circus Enterprises; Casinos--Nevada--Las Vegas--Case studies; Gambling--Nevada--Las Vegas. Las Vegas is adding theme hotels to gambling (Orlando with gambling).

(Foxwoods), Jeff Benedict (2000). Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods, the World's Largest Casino. (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 376 p.). Pequot Indians--Gambling; Gambling on Indian reservations--Connecticut; Casinos--Connecticut; Pequot Indians--Government relations; Pequot Indians--Economic conditions.

Richard (Skip) Hayward (left) -  Foxwoods (

(Foxwoods), Kim Issac Eisler (2001). Revenge of the Pequots: How a Tiny American Tribe Created the Most Profitable Casino in the World. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 267 p.). Pequot Indians--Gambling; Pequot Indians--History; Pequot Indians--Government relations; Gambling on Indian reservations--Connecticut--Ledyard; Casinos--Government policy--Connecticut--Ledyard; Ledyard (Conn.)--Economic conditions; Ledyard (Conn.)--Social conditions. 

(Foxwoods), Brett Duval Fromson (2003). Hitting the Jackpot: The Inside Story of the Richest Indian Tribe in History. (New York, NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 244 p.). Former Reporter (Washington Post). Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; Pequot Indians--Gambling; Pequot Indians--History; Pequot Indians--Social conditions; Gambling on Indian reservations--Connecticut--Ledyard; Casinos--Government policy--Connecticut--Ledyard; Ledyard (Conn.)--Economic conditions. True story of how Mashantucket Pequots of Connecticut became richest Indian tribe in history. 

(Golden Nugget), Tom Breitling with Cal Fussman (2008). Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All To Buy One of Las Vegas’ Legendary Casinos. (New York, NY: Collins, 256 p.). President of Breitling Ventures. Golden Nugget (Las Vegas, Nev.); Casinos--Nevada--Las Vegas. 2003 - College friends Tom Breitling and Tim Poster sold company for $105 million, bought legendary, past-its-prime Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino for $215 million; upped the odds, raised limits to give gamblers best game in town; taken to brink of financial disaster by Mr. Royalty, on one of hottest winning streaks in history.

(Genting Group), Lim Goh Tong (2004). My Story. (Selangor, Malaysia: Pelanduk Pubns Sdn Bhd, 188 p.). Lim Goh Tong; Genting Bhd.; Gambling--Economic aspects--Malaysia.

(Harrah's Entertainment), Leon Mandel (1982). William Fisk Harrah: The Life and Times of a Gambling Magnate. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 223 p.). Harrah, William; Gamblers--United States--Biography.

Bill Harrah  (

(Harrah's Entertainment), From Oral History Interviews by Dwayne Kling; edited by R.T. King (1999). Every Light Was On: Bill Harrah and His Clubs Remembered. (Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Oral History Program, 453 p.). Harrah, William; Harrah, William--Friends and associates--Interviews; Harrah, William--Employees--Interviews; Casinos--Nevada--Employees--Biography; Casinos--Nevada--History; Oral history.

(Harrah's), Robert L. Shook (2002). Jackpot: Harrah's Winning Secrets for Customer Loyalty. (New York, NY: Wiley, p.). Harrah's Casinos (Memphis, Tenn.); Casinos--United States--Marketing; Customer loyalty--United States.

(Mirage Resorts), John L. Smith (1995). Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn. (New York, NY: Barricade Books, 352 p.). Reporter (Nevada's Largest Newspaper). Wynn, Steve; Casinos--Nevada--Las Vegas; Organized crime--Nevada--Las Vegas; Gambling and crime--Nevada--Las Vegas.

Steve Wynn - Mirage (

(Resorts International), Gigi Mahon (1980). The Company That Bought the Boardwalk: A Reporter's Story of How Resorts International Came to Atlantic City. (New York, NY: Random House, 262 p.). Resorts International; Gambling--New Jersey--Atlantic City.

(Resorts International), Robert S. Morrison (1994). High Stakes to High Risk: The Strange Story of Resorts International and the Taj Mahal. (Ashtabula, OH: Lake Erie Press, 378 p.). Resorts International; Casinos--New Jersey--Atlantic City--Case studies.

Mike Atherton (2006). Gambling: A Story of Triumph and Disaster. (London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., 320 p.). Gambling; Gambling--History. From Greek mythology and ancient role of lots, dice and cards, to explosion of gambling in 17th century, to high profile thrown cricket and football matches of today.

H. Lee Barnes; foreword by John L. Smith (2002). Dummy Up and Deal: Inside the Culture of Casino Dealing. (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 140 p.). Casinos; Casinos--Employees; Gamblers; Gambling; Swindlers and swindling. Contents: Breaking in; Mattress politics; Georges, stiffs, freaks; You're fired, have a nice day; Cheating; Coping; Gambling; One dealer's story.

Randy Bobbitt (2007). Lottery Wars: Case Studies in Bible Belt Politics, 1986-2005. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 218 p.). Lotteries--United State; Lotteries--United States--Case studies; Gambling--Government policy--Southern States; Southern States--Politics and government--1951-; Southern States--Politics and government--1951---Case studies. History of state lotteries, persuasive strategies used to debate them.

Christina Binkley (2008). Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own. (New York, NY: Hyperion, 320 p.). Columnist (Wall Street Journal). Las Vegas (Nev.)--Biography; Kerkorian, Kirk; Loveman, Gary; Wynn, Steve. From tacky family vacation spot to luster and glamour;  three competing tycoons bet big on Las Vegas - billions of dollars, unparalleled drive for power.

Henry Chafetz (1960). Play the Devil; A History of Gambling in the United States from 1492 to 1955. (New York, NY: C.N. Potter, 475 p.). Gambling --United States.

Charles T. Clotfelter and Philip J. Cook (1989). Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 323 p.). Lotteries--United States--States; Lotteries--Government policy--United States--States.

Sally Denton and Roger Morris (2001). The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000 (New York, NY: Knopf, 479 p.). Celebrities--Nevada--Las Vegas--History--20th century; Politicians--Nevada--Las Vegas--History--20th century; Organized crime--Nevada--Las Vegas--History--20th century; Political corruption--United States--History--20th century; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Civilization--20th century; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Economic conditions--20th century; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Biography.

Pete Earley (2000). Super Casino: Inside the "New" Las Vegas. (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 386 p.). Gambling--Nevada--Las Vegas; Casinos--Nevada--Las Vegas; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Description and travel; Las Vegas (Nev.)--History--20th century.

John Samuel Ezell (1960). Fortune's Merry Wheel, The Lottery in America. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 331 p.). Lotteries--United States.

William L. Fox (2005). In the Desert of Desire: Las Vegas and the Culture of Spectacle. (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 186 p.). Popular culture--Nevada--Las Vegas; Arts--Nevada--Las Vegas; Art museums--Nevada--Las Vegas; Zoos--Nevada--Las Vegas; Dance companies--Nevada--Las Vegas; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Cultural policy; Las Vegas (Nev.)--Civilization. City’s most important collections of art, exotic fauna presented in context of casino entertainment - future of arts in America? 

Thomas M. Kavanagh (2005). Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History of French Culture. (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 251 p.). Gambling--France--History; Gambling in literature.

Dwayne Kling; foreword by Rollan Melton (2000). The Rise of the Biggest Little City: An Encyclopedic History of Reno Gaming, 1931-1981. (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 226 p.). Gambling--Nevada--Reno--History; Gambling--Economic aspects--Nevada--Reno; Casinos--Nevada--Reno--History.

Oscar Lewis (1953). Sagebrush Casinos; The Story of Legal Gambling in Nevada. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 256 p.). Gambling--Nevada.

Stephen Longstreet (1977). Win or Lose: A Social History of Gambling in America. (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 268 p.). Gambling--United States--History; Gamblers--United States--History; Gamblers--Psychology.

Timothy L. O'Brien (1998). Bad Bet: The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz and Danger of America's Gambling Industry. (New York, NY: Times Books, 339 p.). Gambling; Compulsive gambling.

William Poundstone (2005). Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street. (New York, NY: Hill & Wang, 400 p.). Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916- ; Gambling; Gambling--History; Gambling--Mathematical models. Mathematics applied to gambling, trading.

David G. Schwartz (2006). Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling. (New York, NY: Gotham Books, 592 p.). Professor of History, Coordinator of Gaming Studies Research Center (University of Nevada-Las Vegas). Gambling--History. Global history of gambling - how it has evolved with-and influenced-civilizations around world, from earliest cultures to modern day; how major games such as poker, craps, roulette developed. 

John L. Smith (2005). Sharks in the Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of Las Vegas. (Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, 320 p.). Gambling--Nevada--Las Vegas; Casinos--Nevada--Las Vegas; Organized crime--Nevada--Las Vegas; Businessmen--Nevada--Las Vegas; Central business districts--Nevada--Las Vegas; City planning--Nevada--Las Vegas. Profiles of casino owners, gambling empire builders.

Matthew Sweeney (2008). The Lottery Wars: Long Odds, Fast Money, and the Battle Over an American Institution. (New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 304 p.). Lotteries --United States --History. Forty-two states, nation’s capital encourage lottery gambling in name of school kids, senior citizens; how has game persisted, even flourished, against many obstacles?; history of American lottery, with bizarre, sometimes tragic, stories.

Eds. Brian J. Tyrrell, Israel Posner (2009). Casino Gaming in Atlantic City: A Thirty Year Retrospective. (Margate, NJ  ComteQ Pub.,    p.). Associate Professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management (Richard Stockton College); Executive Director of the Stockton Institute for Gaming Management (Richard Stockton College). Casinos--New Jersey--History; Gambling--New Jersey--history. How Atlantic City casino industry has evolved over three decades, its contribution to region’s economic development; 1976 - New Jersey referendum legalized casino gambling (rejected in 1974);  May 26, 1978 - Resorts International opened as first casino in Atlantic City; gaming industry created tens of thousands of jobs, spurred billions of dollars in investment, huge source of tax revenue benefited entire state.

University of Nevada Las Vegas, International Gaming Institute, (1996).  The Gaming Industry: Introduction and Perspectives (New York, NY: Wiley, 270 p.). Casinos--United States--Management; Gambling--United States.  

Ed. Denise von Herrmann (2006). Resorting to Casinos: The Mississippi Gambling Industry. (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 182 p.). Associate Professor of Political Science (University of Southern Mississippi). Casinos--Mississippi. Effects of growth of resort casino industry on the politics, culture, people of Mississippi. 

Douglas M. Walker (2007). The Economics of Casino Gambling. (New York, NY: Springer, 207 p.). Casinos--Economic aspects--United States; Gambling--Economic aspects--United States. Social and economic costs, benefits of legalized gambling: possible source of additional tax revenue; purported to spur economic growth; does casino expansion "cannibalize" other industries, having no net effect?


Business History Links

Center for Gaming Research                                                                               

Hub for the scholarly analysis of gambling and gaming issues. The Gaming Collection is the repository of record for the commercial casino industry; we preserve and make accessible company documents, state publications, and other important resources.

Gaming: Selected Internet Resources                                                                        

A directory of general resources on gambling plus links to national, state, and local commissions, boards, and lotteries; Indian gaming; organizations, including some that address gambling addiction; historical and legal sites; corporations that operate casinos or manufacture gaming equipment; academic and scholarly sites; and periodicals. From the University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries. Subjects: Gambling.

UNLV International Gaming Institute                                                      

 Created in 1993 in response to the need for increased educational programs and research initiated by the incredible growth of the gaming industry. Gaming education has been an integral part of the hospitality curriculum at UNLV since the creation of the college in 1967. The IGI provides a focal point for the study of gaming and industry research and the success of the college has been enhanced by the success of the Institute’s programs.

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