My name is Dave Schwartz. This is the page where I'm supposed to tell you a little about myself.
Since 2001, I have been at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Until early 2019, I was Director of the Center for Gaming Research within University Libraries. Since then, I have been Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. I have also, since 2002, taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the colleges of Liberal Arts, Law, Honors, and Hospitality.
Right now I have four main research interests: history, gambling and casinos, video games, and higher education. There's a few connections between them, even if it isn't always obvious. I also write about Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
I was born in and grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which has always been a punchline, although the joke has gotten more cutting lately. I went to Atlantic City High School and worked a lot of jobs around town. Some of my favorites were Mr. Peanut, cleaning the beach for the City of Ventnor City, night shift desk clerk, dishwasher, ice cream scooper, janitorial scientist, casino security officer, and, later, surveillance (it's two separate departments). I worked in three casinos: Bally's Grand, the Tropicana, and the Trump Taj Mahal. Two of them are closed now, but the Taj has reopened as the Hard Rock. That tells you a lot about Atlantic City, doesn't it? Makes you wish you could read about a book about the city's making, unmaking, and remaking, I hope.
Then I went to college, where I got a BA (History and Anthropology) and MA (American History) from the University of Pennsylvania. After that, it was grad school in United States History at UCLA. I worked some more jobs there--a few favorites are museum security officer, arena event staff, graduate researcher, and SAT prep teacher. I got my Ph.D. in U.S. History from there in 2000, so when people want me to think I'm important they call me "Dr. Schwartz" even though I can't, strictly speaking, heal the sick. I got the nickname "Doctor Dave" from the Vegas Internet Mafia so that's what most of my social media handles are. It usually leads to disappointment (the first of many) when I explain to people that I cannot, in fact, provide medical care or advice (outside of "yeah, put some ice on that").
Outside of my various jobs, I spend most of my time with my kids doing regular dad stuff and trying to maintain a middle class lifestyle. I also like staying in shape and playing video games. I'm really bad at most FPS, and I prefer turn-based strategy games like Civilization. One of my proudest achievements is beating Civ 5 on Diety once (duel map, archipelago, played as England, beelined navigation, spammed ships of the line, captured the enemy capital so easily it felt like cheating). Right now my favorite game is one that collapses a lot of my interests, Fallout: New Vegas. When I can get it to run without crashing.
People ask my opinion about things, mostly having to do with casinos, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and related stuff.
At my day job I get many, many media inquiries--usually about 300 a year but it's often more than that. I've been quoted by writers for the Associated Press, UPI, Reuters, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wired, Congressional Quarterly Weekly, Indianapolis Star, Philadelphia Inquirer, New Orleans Times-Picayune, International Gaming and Wagering Business, Player, San Francisco Chronicle, Crane's Business, Los Angeles Times, Reno Gazette Journal, Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and many other newspapers and magazines.
Someone once thought it would be good to put me on TV, and others followed, so I've appeared in news stories about Las Vegas and gaming on CNN, CNBC, Speigel TV (Germany), Court TV, National Public Radio's Marketplace, The Savvy Traveler, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition, CBC Radio, Swiss National Radio, CNN Radio, and on local news programs in Las Vegas, San Diego, Philadelphia, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and New York City.
I've also been in several documentaries, including "Ten Things You Don't Know About Las Vegas," "All In: the Poker Movie," "Secrets of the Palms," "Secrets of New York New York," "Vegas Whales Tales" (Travel Channel); "The History of Poker," "Modern Marvels: Casino Technology," and "Anything to Win" (History Channel). My personal favorite as "Ten Things" because I was a huge Henry Rollins fan. I got to meet him and he was totally thoughtful and cool.
I've been an off-screen, usually uncredited, consultant for these and several other programs. If people want advice from someone with no training in film or TV production, I'm happy to oblige.
You can get all that for free, but if you'd like me to show up and speak with your group, hey, I can do that too. I have a few talks that are especially popular: "Seven Things You Should Know about Casinos" is great for a general conference audience in Las Vegas, and "How Bugsy Blew It: Leadership Lessons from a Las Vegas Legend" is a good management/leadership/motivational talk for business groups. I've recently talked about topics ranging from frontline casino risk management to the history of Las Vegas architecture. I can put together pretty much anything (within reason) for any size group.
You can learn more on the Speaking page.
If you are curious about my academic publishing pedigree, you can check out my CV. I’ve written my share of peer-reviewed articles, but it honestly isn’t where my passion is. I prefer to write for the bigger audiences of media platforms like Forbes.com, Desert Companion, the Mob Museum, and a few other places that will have me.
I guess I’m decent at writing, but don’t take my word for it: I’ve won multiple Nevada Press Association awards (including the 2015 “Best Local Column” honor for “Green Felt Journal”) and I was named the 2014 Trippies Las Vegas Person of the Year for providing a “deluge for the desiccated.” I’ve been accused of worse.
The past: For seven years, I wrote biweekly opinion columns for the Las Vegas Business Press. I also used to write for Two Way Hard Three. From 2002 to 2010, I wrote articles about Atlantic City history for Casino Connection magazine; an archive of those pieces is here. and if you like them, you might want to pick up the book. From 2010 to 2018, I wrote for Vegas Seven magazine, including the biweekly “Green Felt Journal” column and longer features. You can find everything I’ve written for Seven right here. I’ve also contributed to CDC Gaming Reports, writing reviews of more than just gambling books (although there are many of those), and have had opinion pieces published in the Washington Post’s PostEverything section.