Dr. Schwartz has written or edited several books about Las Vegas, Atlantic City, casino history, and gambling in general.
The Queen of the Coast. The World’s Playground. The Casino Capital of the East. They can only describe Atlantic City, New Jersey. Beloved, maligned, always-hustling since its 1854 founding, the seaside resort has seen it all: first class hotels, popular amusements on the world famous Boardwalk and its piers, Prohibition, gangsters, speakeasies, conventioneers, celebrities, urban pride, urban decay, a casino revival, a casino collapse—and it hasn’t given up yet. Boardwalk Playground shares a hundred stories of Atlantic City’s high spots and low points of the past century and a half, with an emphasis on the hospitality business that evolved into casino gaming—and is evolving again.
Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas. Las Vegas: Winchester Books, 2013.
Jay Sarno built two path-breaking Las Vegas casinos, Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and planned but did not build a third, the Grandissimo, which would have started the mega-resort era a decade before Steve Wynn built The Mirage. As mobsters and accountants battled for the soul of the last American frontier town, Las Vegas had endless possibilities—if you didn’t mind high stakes and stiff odds. Sarno invented the modern Las Vegas casino, but he was part of a dying breed—a back-pocket entrepreneur who’d parlayed a jones for action and a few Teamster loans into a life as a Vegas casino owner. Grandissimo tells his complete story for the first time.
This revised edition updates the original, expanding on its coverage of casinos and Las Vegas. With new chapters on Atlantic City, the 1980s recession and its consequences, and how casinos are faring in the current economic crisis, this book is essential for those who want to understand gambling.
There’s also an in-depth consideration of the role of organized crime in the development of Las Vegas casinos and the rise of online gaming. All that and more is why poker author Jim McManus has called it “even more indispensible than the original.”
Read more about Roll the Bones: Casino Edition here.
Spanning millennia, this award-winning book tracks the history of gambling from crude knucklebones to Internet poker. Fascinating personalities from gambling’s past and long-forgotten games spring from the pages of Roll the Bones.
If you enjoy gambling, you’ll be astounded by the fascinating story of how it has developed with humanity. Read it and learn why the Washington Post has called it “something remarkable,” why it won a 2006 Trippie Award, and why it’s a must-read for the fan of gambling.
Read more about Roll the Bones here.
Cutting the Wire: Gambling Prohibition and the Internet. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2005
At a time when online gaming is being debated, this is a very important book. It traces the past 200 years of anti-gambling legislation in the United States and examines the influences behind the passage of the Wire Act in 1961. This anti-gambling law is still used to stifle legal Internet gaming in the United States, and figures in current efforts to create a legal framework at the federal level.
With chapters on general American legal gambling history and Internet gaming, it puts the current debate over online gambling into perspective.
Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond. New York: Routledge, 2003
Developed from Schwartz’s doctoral dissertation in history, this book looks at the forces that shaped the rise of the commercial casino industry in the United States. Its thesis, that the self-contained nature of casino resorts renders them inherently anti-urban, raises profound questions for the use of casinos as urban redevelopment tools.
This book helps to explain why casinos evolved as they did, becoming the driving force behind the growth of Las Vegas in the late 20th century.
This collection pulls together 17 papers originally published in the series, making them available in one book for the first time. Ranging from the mythologies surrounding notorious gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel to a look at the lessons that the financial crisis (should have) taught Las Vegas casinos to a cross-national examination of how governments spend the money they accrue from gambling proceeds and taxes, this collection draws on several disciplines, including history, sociology, philosophy, public policy, and business.
Taken together, these papers provide a snapshot into the diversity of work currently being conducted in a variety of fields with the common focus of gambling, in its many manifestations.
The eight essays in Gambling, Space, and Time use a global and interdisciplinary approach to examine two significant areas of gambling studies that have not been widely explored—the ever-changing boundaries that divide and organize gambling spaces, and the cultures, perceptions, and emotions related to gambling. The contributors represent a variety of disciplines: history, geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and law.