Center for Gaming Research
Special Events

As part of its mission to promote gaming research on UNLV's campus and elsewhere, in 2007 the Center for Gaming Research began sponsoring a series of mid-day discussions and special events.

The Gaming Research Colloquium Series presents talks by visiting fellows, UNLV faculty members, and invited guests on a variety of gambling and Las Vegas topics.

Unless otherwise noted, all talks take place in the Goldfield Room on the third floor of Lied Library. All events are free and open to the public, but registration for some events is preferred.

For directions to Lied Library, click here.

If you have additional questions, please call Special Collections at 702 895 2234.


Upcoming Events


January 18, 3pm, Goldfield Room
“Playing Paradise: The California Hotel and Hawaiian Tourist Imaginaries”
Dana Herrera/Cynthia Van Gilder Colloquium Talk

February 28, 2pm Goldfield Room
"Mind and Morality: Gaming in a Jewish-Renaissance Garb"
Paolo Bernadini Colloquium Talk

June 8, 2pm, Goldfield Room
“Gender and Gambling Motivated Crime”
Michelle Malkin Colloquium Talk

July 6, 2 pm, Goldfield Room
“Enclaves, Sovereignty, and Gaming: A Comparative Perspective”  
Tim Simpson Colloquium Talk

Past events


December 13, 2 pm, Amargosa Room
“The Determinants of Gaming Policy Diffusion & Expansion”
Kim Manh Colloquium Talk

September 8, 2017, 3 PM
“Praying and Gambling”

Massimo Leone Colloquium Talk
See flyer

August 4, 2017, 3 PM
“A History of Play in Print: Paper Games from Cards to Candyland”

Kelli Wood Colloquium Talk
See flyer

July 14, 2017, 3 PM
“Comparing the Professionalization of Pro Gamblers and Pro Video Game Players
Mark R. Johnson Colloquium Talk
See flyer

January 25, 2017, 3 pm
“Promoting Las Vegas: Stories and Strategies of Casino Press Releases.

Jessalyn R. Strauss Colloquium Talk
See flyer


September 9, 2016, 3 pm​
"Hazard All He Hath": Shakespeare's Gambling World

First Folio Shakespeare colloquium by David G. Schwartz
More info

August 15, 2016, 3 PM
Paul Franke Colloquium Talk
“The Making of the Las Vegas Consumption Experience in a Historical Perspective"
See flyer

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 3 PM
Scott Boylan Colloquium Talk
“The Evolution of Gaming Revenue in Nevada"
See flyer



December 21, 2015, 3 PM
Danielle Seid Colloquium Talk
“Forgotten Femmes, Forgotten War: The Kim Sisters’ Dis-Appearance from American Screen and Scene"
See flyer

December 3, 2015, 3 PM
Jonathan Cohen Colloquium Talk
"'This Could Be Your Ticket Out': Social Mobility in the Age of Jackpot Capitalism"
See flyer

November 16, 3 PM
Alex Kupfer Colloquium Talk
“The Biggest Game on TV: Benny Binion, the WSOP, and the Nostalgic Construction of Poker’s Past”
See flyer

June 30, 3 PM
Monica Steinberg Colloquium Talk
“Engagements with Chance and Risk: Los Angeles-based artists looking to Las Vegas in the Post-War Era”
See flyer

May 14, 3 PM
Celeste Chamberland Colloquim Talk
“An Enchanting Witchcraft: Masculinity, Melancholy, and the Pathology of Gaming in Early Modern London”
See flyer

April 15, 3 PM
John Hunt Colloquium Talk
“Betting on the Triple Crown: Wagering on Papal Elections in Renaissance Rome”
See flyer | Listen to the talk

March 18, 3 PM
Laurie Arnold Colloquium Talk
"Indian Gaming, American Anxiety"
See flyer

January 15, 3PM
Catherine Borg Colloquium Talk
"Scouted: An Inadvertent Archive from the Search for a Cinematic Vegas"
See flyer



February 23, 4 PM
Author Event: Larry Gragg

Introduced by Nevada Historian Dr. Michael Green

In his book Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture Larry Gragg invites readers to view Las Vegas in an entirely new way. Gragg considers how popular culture has depicted the city and its allure over its first century. He draws on hundreds of films, television programs, novels and articles and identifies changing trends in how the city is presented. In its earliest days, Las Vegas was promoted by boosters as the last frontier town where cowboys and prospectors enjoyed liquor, women and gambling. In the 1950s it was largely characterized as a sophisticated resort town. More recently, Las Vegas has been depicted as controlled by organized crime, offering non-stop entertainment and luxury. Gragg introduces readers to gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Tony Spilotro and entertainers like Elvis and Frank Sinatra. His book is an eclectic blend of stories, people sights and sounds that make up Las Vegas’ appeal.

View invitation (pdf)


March 2, 4PM
Roundtable Discussion: Jay Sarno: His Life and Legacy

Jay Sarno did more than build two of the most iconic casinos in the world, Caesars Palace and Circus Circus. He created the mold for modern Las Vegas. In this panel discussion, those who knew him best will talk about his contributions and his quirks.

Panelists include

  • Oscar Goodman, former Las Vegas mayor and Sarno’s attorney

  • Burton Cohen, casino president

  • Mel Larson, former Circus Circus vice president of marketing

  • Jay C. Sarno, September Sarno, Freddie Sarno, and Heidi Sarno Straus, Jay Sarno’s children

The panel will be moderated by David G. Schwartz, author of Sarno biography Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the discussion.

View invitation (pdf)

March 18, 3 PM
Michelle Robinson Gaming Research Colloquium
“Billy Graham Comes to Las Vegas: Faith at Work on the Strip”
See the flyer (pdf)


March 21, 2014, 3 PM
Robert Miller Gaming Research Colloquium
“Paradise of Spectacle: Imagining and Re-presenting Casino Resorts as Spaces of Luxury and Leisure in the Twentieth Century”
See the flyer (pdf)


March 27th, 3 PM
Lee Scrivner Gaming Research Colloquium
“Las Vegas, an Atemporal History”
See the flyer (pdf)


April 3, 3 PM
Matias Karekallas Gaming Research Colloquium
"The Ambivalent Images of Las Vegas in Popular Music"
See the flyer (pdf)


April 11, 2PM
Stephen Andrade Gaming Research Colloquium
"Brave New Play: A Brief Look at Digital Natives, Changing Play Ecosystems, and Wager-Based Gaming"
See the flyer (pdf)


May 15, 3 PM
Stefan Al Gaming Research Colloquium
"Casino Architecture Wars: A History of How Las Vegas Developers Compete with Architectural Design."
See the flyer (pdf)


May 30, 3 PM
Richard Williams Gaming Research Colloquium:
“Erle Stanley Gardner in Las Vegas”
See the flyer (pdf)



January 31
Gaming Research Colloquium
Beverly Geesin

“‘Surveillance and the Marketing of Vice”
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


February 14
Gaming Research Colloquium
David J. Hart

“An Illegitimate Child: Epilepsy, Gambling, and the Birth of Probability”
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


March 28
Gaming Research Colloquim
Diana Tracy Cohen

“Advertising Parenting in Las Vegas: An Analysis of Time and Space”
Date: March 28, 3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


April 11
Gaming Research Colloquium
Stephen C. Andrade

“Visual Metaphor in Games of Chance  - What You See is What You Play”
Date: April 11, 3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


May 9
Gaming Research Colloquium
David T. Courtwright

"Learning from Las Vegas: Addiction, Limbic Capitalism, and Pleasure Meccas" 
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


May 16
Gaming Research Colloquium
Brian Beaton

“Drawing Crowds to Citizen Science: Data Collection and Analysis as Everyday Gaming”
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Flyer (pdf)


October 6, 4 PM
Author Event: Rex J. Rowley
See the invitation (pdf)

November 7, 4pm
Dean's Speaker Series with Governor Bob Miller



May 30 & 31
RD&E Experience: Retail, Dining, and Entertainment in the Gaming and Hospitality Industry

Non-gaming revenue is often the most profitable—and elusive—of all casino revenue. Diverse amenities attract more than just gamblers. New hotel rooms, fabulous restaurants, exclusive nightclubs, upscale retail, superstar entertainment, relaxing spas, MICE business and more have the potential to add cash flow to every casino. Come enjoy M Resort, a contemporary luxury casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip built for RD&E. Learn from professionals inside and outside the industry in a relaxed and interactive environment about how to add these exciting—and lucrative—elements to your property or jurisdictions.

For more information, visit:

May 18
Internet Gaming Regulation Symposium
The UNLV Boyd School of Law is sponsoring a symposium and the publication of a comparative law book on best practices as it relates to the regulation of Internet gaming. The symposium features world renowned speakers and authors who are highly knowledgeable in their respective fields. For more information, see:

April 12
Gaming Research Colloqium
Christopher Wetzel
"The Big Game: Dynamics of State Lottery Legalization"
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

View flyer (pdf)

April 5
Gaming Research Colloqium
Lynn Gidluck
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

View flyer (pdf)

March 14
Gaming Research Colloqium
Jessalynn Strauss 
"Jackpots, Showgirls, and Twitter: Casino Public Relations from the Last Frontier to the Cosmopolitan"
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Listen to the audio file

View flyer


December 8
Gaming Research Colloqium
Tom Norman
"Game Theory and Poker: The Effect of Variable Bet Size"
3:30 PM, Special Collections Reading Room

Listen to the audio file

View flyer

September 15
Kah-Wee Lee, Gaming Research Colloqium
"Taming Vice: How Machines and Architecture Changed the Culture of Gambling"
Lee is a doctoral candidate in the department of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation looks at the taming of vice in the context of postcolonial urbanism. Taking as his sites the recent casino developments in Singapore and Macau, he looks at how architectural design, urban planning and other environmental technologies help to draw the line between what is tolerated and what is not. His work at the Lied Library focuses on the historical evolution of gaming machines as part of this larger trajectory.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

View flyer (pdf)

March 24, 2011
Benjamin Min Han, Gaming Research Colloquium
“We’re Right Next Door’: Televisual Las Vegas in Cold War America.

Han, currently a graduate student in cinema studies at New York University, is looking at how television performances helped to shape perceptions of Las Vegas. Since World War II, Las Vegas has evolved into an entertainment capital of the world.  While we often associate Las Vegas with gambling and casinos, many foreign ethnic talents arrived in the city to perform in hotels and nightclubs.  These talented performers were instrumental in the development of televisual Las Vegas.  This talk explores the migration of ethnic talent, and how such prominent Las Vegas entertainment business figures like Jack Entratter and Bill Willard envisioned transforming the city into a primary center of television production from the 1950s to 1970s.

Listen to the audio file (mp3)

View flyer (pdf)

February 24, 2011
Darryl Smith, Gaming Research Colloquium

“'Dark with Excessive Bright'”: Gambling Tells and the Naming Taboo"

Within sacred language the belief has existed that the personal name is an intrinsic part of oneself. As such, its revelation threatens exposure to powers that might undo its bearer. Smith considers the relation between the detection of tells in gambling and that of so-called true names. Strategies of concealment and detection that are basic to both tell-reading and true-naming are explored in relation to post-colonial theory's insights into using light in order to hide things.

Listen to audio file (mp3)

view flyer (pdf)

January 25

RJ Rowley, Gaming Research Colloquium

"Neon Beyond the Neon: The Geography of Locals Casinos"

Rowley,  an assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, will discuss his research into the origins of the locals casino phenomenon in Las Vegas.  Locals casinos, which cater primarily to residents of the city rather than tourists, date from the 1970s and are a characteristic development of the local landscape.  Rowley also links the expansion of the locals gaming market with the proliferation of casino gambling across the United States.

View flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)

View map: Las Vegas Casinos (pdf)

View Map: Henderson/Green Valley Locals Casinos (pdf)



November 18
Gaming Research Colloquium: Paulina Raento

The Naming of Gaming in Nevada

This research project takes an interdisciplinary look at the naming of Nevada's gambling establishments in the latter half of the twentieth century. In this talk, Raento supports her qualitative data analysis with local, contemporary voices and visualization.

12:15 in Special Collections Reading Room, Third Floor, Lied Library

View flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)


May 27
Gaming Research Colloquium: Laura Cook Kenna

The Promise of Gangster Glamour
Sinatra, Vegas and the Allure of Excess

In the 1950s and 60s, both Vegas and Sinatra linked the conspicuous display of excess with a promise that tourists could be participants—not just onlookers—in their glamorous realm.  The city and the star, however, also had something else in common: both were allegedly underwritten by the mob.  This paper/talk examines how Rat Pack performances and Vegas spaces offered access to “the good life” even as innuendos of gangsterism tacitly associated that lavish lifestyle with ethnic difference. 

12:15 in Special Collections

view flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)


April 27
Gaming Research Colloquium: Theodor Gordon (Doctoral Candidate, UC Riverside)

Tribal Sovereignty and Worker Solidarity
Casino Labor Relations & Tribal Self-Determination

The impact of tribal casinos on job creation is well documented.  However, the increasing employment of non-Indians in tribal casinos creates new cultural and political challenges.  What unique workplace anxieties emerge in a tribal casino? How might new tribal labor regulations impinge on tribal self-determination? In this talk, I address these questions through a systematic examination of tribal casino trade publications. By analyzing the language (especially the symbols and metaphors) mobilized by industry insiders as they disseminate strategies to mitigate these challenges, I demonstrate how recent developments in tribal labor relations reflect broader shifts in the boundaries of tribal self-determination.

view flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)


March 25
Gaming Research Colloquium: Pascale Nedelec
"Urban Dynamics in the Las Vegas Valley: Casinos and Sprawl"

Las Vegas is well known for its urban sprawl. While the casino industry has played an obvious role in the development of Las Vegas, no systematic study has evaluated the exact nature of urban growth and the rise of neighborhood casinos. This presentation examines whether the neighborhood casinos are a driving force for urban sprawl, or if they are a local outgrowth of residential developments and master-planned communities.

View flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)



December 3, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium: Rob Bone, Vice President of Marketing, WMS Industries
"WMS' Culture of Innovation"
View flyer (pdf)
| Listen to audio file (mp3)

October 15, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium: Roger Gros, Publisher, Global Gaming Business Magazine
"Information, Please: 25 Years of Covering the Gaming Industry"
View flyer (pdf)
| Listen to audio file (mp3)

September 3, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Derk Boss, DJ Boss and Associates
"Behind the Camera: Current Trends in Casino Surveillance and Loss Prevention"
Extended Study Area, Lied Library
View flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)

June 25, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Dr. Ole Bjerg, Copenhagen Business School
"What's in a Game? The Co-Evolution of Poker and Capitalism"
Special Collections Reading Room
View flyer (pdf) | Listen to audio file (mp3)

April 30, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Steve Cyr
Special Event with the subject of "Whale Hunt in the Desert"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

April 22, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Dr. Nicholas Tosney
"Commercialization, Crime, and Casinos: Legacies of 18th Century Gambling"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

March 12, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Jacob Avery
"The Social Worlds of Everyday Poker Players"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

February 23, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Bill Zender
Special Event with the author of "Casino-ology: The Art of Managing Casino Games"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

January 29, 2009
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Leslie Nino Fidance
"The Mob Never Ran Vegas"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

December 2, 2008
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Cristina Turdean
"Betting on Computers: Digital Technologies and the Rise of the Gaming Industry in the U.S., 1960-2000"
Download flyer (pdf) | Download audio file (mp3)

October 23. 2008
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Larry Gragg, Ph.D.
A Special Presentation for Nevada Archives Week 2008
"'There Were Few Solid Facts to Get in the Way': Popular Perceptions of Bugsy Siegel as Founding Father of Las Vegas" | Download flyer (pdf)



June 27, 2008
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Matt Johnson
"Sex in the Marketplace: The Making of a Sexual Culture in Postwar Las Vegas" | Download flyer (pdf)

May 9, 2008
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Stewart Ethier | Download flyer (pdf)

March 28
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Jane Haigh | Download flyer (pdf)

March 21, 2008
Gaming Research Colloquium Series: Larry Gragg | Download flyer (pdf)



November 8, 2007
Steve Friess Reading
Author and journalist Steve Friess spoke about his new book, Gay Vegas: A Guide to the Other Side of Sin City.

June 22, 2007:
Burt Dragin Reading
Burt Dragin, a Laney College journalism professor, spoke about his gambling experiences, his father, and his memoir Six to Five Against: A Gambling Odyssey.


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Last modified Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:30:27 PDT