Popularity to social opprobrium and suppression

27UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

foundations  for  legalization,   policy  and  commercial  gambling:   A  tribute  to  William  Eadington’s

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International  Conference  on   Gambling  and  Risk  Taking

Alex  Blaszczynski,  Ph.D.


popularity  to  social  opprobrium  and  suppression.  Following  the

1900s,  gambling  became  relegated  to  the  realm  of  illegality  and   was  the  purvey  of  gangsters  and  moral  degenerates.  In  1909,   the  Women’s  Civic  League  effectively  lobbied  the  Nevada  State   Legislature  to  make  gambling  illegal,  a  restriction  that  lasted   only  20  years  (Puzo,  1976).  Ironically,  the  stock  market  crash   of  the  1920s  and  the  very  forces  that  undermined  gambling  as  a   legitimate  commercial  recreational  pursuit  led  to  the  establishment   of  Las  Vegas  as  a  small  town  located  in  a  desert  environment   that  existed  for  no  other  purpose  than  to  offer  a  few  Western-­ style  casinos  (Puzo,  1976).  Remaining  relatively  dormant  for   three  decades,  commercial  legal  gambling  began  to  manifest  a   growing  resurgence  in  the  mid  1960s  with  a  burst  of  activity  in

present  in  48  of  the  50  states.   The  image  of  gambling  has  also  witnessed  an  almost  spiritual  cleansing  as  political

and  legal  agencies  joined  forces  to  exclude  organized  criminal  elements  and  suppress   corruption  and  money  laundering  associated  with  casino  operations.  Probity  checks  and   government  commissions  resulted  in  the  acceptance  and  spread  of  legal  commercial

regions.   Legal  commercial  casino  gambling  is  now  an  enterprise  that  incorporates  many


Professor  of  Clinical   Psychology,  School  of   Psychology,  University

Centre  for  Gambling   Education  and  Research,   School  of  Tourism  and

Southern  Cross

Editor,  International   Gambling  Studies;;

Email:   [email protected]


Irrespective  of  which  perspective   one  adopts  –  clinical,  public   health,  marketing/promotion,   operator,  or  regulator  –  the

fundamental  foundation  upon   which  gambling  in  contemporary

society  is  built  is  policy,   legislation  and  economics.



28 UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

of  gambling  as  an  important  economic  enterprise  for  industry  and  governments.  For

Singapore  with  just  two  casinos  opening  in  2010  has  rapidly   expanded  with  comparable  levels  of  revenue  achieved  to  date.   Estimated  projections  suggest  that  global  casino  gaming  revenue   will  achieve  a  compound  annual  rate  of  9.5%  to  2015  (Global

Emerging  technologies  has  further  contributed  to  the  rise  of   commercial  gambling  with  this  form  accounting  for  8%  of  the   global  gambling  market  (GBGC,  2011).  With  expected  growth  to   continue  at  12%  annually,  global  Internet  gross  gaming  yield  is   predicted  to  exceed  US$43  billion  by  2015  (GBGC,  2011). Irrespective  of  which  perspective  one  adopts  –  clinical,

fundamental  foundation  upon  which  gambling  in  contemporary   society  is  built  is  policy,  legislation  and  economics.  Policy   determines  the  scope  and  forms  of  the  various  forms  of  gambling   that  can  be  introduced  into  a  jurisdiction,  legislation  sets  the  regulatory  framework  in   which  commercial  gambling  can  be  legitimately  offered,  and  economics  underpins  the   driving  force  behind  supply  and  demand.

Within  the  above  context,  William  R.  Eadington  stands  as  an  intellectual  above  all   others.  Bill  has,  for  over  forty  years,  made  a  substantive  contribution  to  commercial

comprehensively  examining  the  economic  characteristics,  political  environment  and   social  effects  of  commercial  gaming  across  international  jurisdictions.  It  is  with  great   insight  that  Bill  began  comparing  the  development  and  expansion  of  legalized  casino   gaming  in  the  US,  particularly  comparing  and  contrasting  the  pioneering  gaming  States   of  Nevada  and  New  Jersey.  The  motivation  for  embarking  on  such  a  comparison  was   the  recognition  that  legalized  casino  gaming  was  emerging  as  a  dominant  force  in

industry  operators.  Bill  had  the  vision  to  see  that  Bugsy  Siegel’s  selection  of  Las   Vegas  as  the  site  for  his  construction  of  a  casino,  and  the  spread  of  this  form  of  activity

geographical  monopolized  boundaries  to  encompass  other  States  in  addition  to  other   countries.  In  this  regard,  Bill  was  more  than  correct.   In  response  to  this  prophesized  and  subsequently  realized  trend,  Bill  recognized

the  need  to  direct  and  advance  the  political  debate  on  policies  for  and  against  the   legalization  and  proliferation  of  casino  gaming  in  the  community.  In  so  doing,  the   impact  of  Bill’s  career  aspirations  is  evident  in  the  extent  to  which  he  has  shaped   the  economic  and  regulatory  framework  of  casino  gaming  on  the  world  scene.  How

Bill  had  the  vision  to  see   that  Bugsy  Siegel’s  selection   of  Las  Vegas  as  the  site  for   his  construction  of  a  casino,   and  the  spread  of  this  form   of  activity  to  the  boardwalks   of  Atlantic  City  would,  in  the   climate  of  the  1980s,  breach   these  geographical  monopolized   boundaries  to  encompass  other   States  in  addition  to  other   countries.



29UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

A  tribute  to  William  Eadington’s  International  Conference  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking

and  organization  of  a  world  renowned  and  respected  conference.  Through  such  means,

sources  of  capital  funding  that  have  allowed  the  construction  of  the  mega-­casinos  that

Bill  has  examined  the  processes  and  importance  of  shifting  the  capitalization  of  casinos

strict  probity  and  regulatory  requirements.

within  political  circles  where  legislation  has  moved  from  one  of  regulatory  restriction  to   the  promotion  of  a  sustainable  long-­term  industry.  Nowhere  is  the  change  in  government   focus  more  clearly  articulated  than  in  Bill’s  statement  that,  “There  was  a  collective  belief

myriad  of  society’s  problems”  (Eadington,  2009).   Bill  was  cognizant  of  the  evolutionary  changes  that  were  occurring  within  the  gaming

environment  with  the  shift  in  attitudes  from  opposition  on  moral  grounds  to  the  growing   acceptance  that  commercial  gaming  could  be  conducted  with  substantially  high  levels  of   integrity  and  consumer  protection.  He  recognized  the  fact  that  private  and  government   operators  were  invested  with  the  task  of  introducing  increasingly  sophisticated  forms  of   gambling  and  that  this  would  result  in  tensions  between  pro-­  and  anti-­gambling  sectors

clarity  and  objectivity  to  questions  and  issues  related  to  tax  revenue  generation,  and   regional  economic  revitalizations.  To  do  this,  he  embarked  on  what  can  be  best  described   as  a  more  accurate  and  realistic  assessment  of,  and  implications  for,  gambling  introduced   to  local  and  broader  regional  economies  and  on  related  social  and  political  structures   of  communities  (Eadington,  1988).  He  often  remarked  on  the  creation  of  employment   opportunities,  taxation  revenue,  enhanced  tourism,  and  satisfaction  of  consumer  demands   as  factors  fostering  the  promotion  of  gambling.   From  my  own  perspective,  one  of  the  most  impressive  and  endearing  qualities

that  Bill  has  exhibited  is  his  capacity  to  advance  beyond  the   economics  of  gambling  to  incorporate  social  justice  and  the

of  vulnerable  community  members.  Bill  fully  understands  the   need  for  gaming  operators  to  balance  market  expansion  and  the   legitimacy  of  gambling  as  a  recreational  product  with  the  negative   consequences  experienced  by  a  minority  of  the  general  population,

1988).  He  strongly  argued  that  it  would  not  be  until  the  industry   effectively  responded  to  and  managed  problem  and  pathological   gambling  behaviors  among  patrons  that  the  blanket  of  acceptance   and  legitimacy  would  come  to  cover  commercial  gaming.  In  his   2002  book,  The  Downside,   Cornelius,  Bill  applied  economic  parlance  in  referring  to  the   negative  externalities  that  problem  and  pathological  gambling   exerted  on  the  acceptance  and  legitimacy  of  gambling  in  general.

proliferation  of  gambling  in  various  jurisdictions  globally.   This  argument  continues  to  bear  relevance  in  contemporary  times  where  we  continue

to  witness  adversarial  positions  adopted  by  academics,  and  welfare  and  community

and  bias.  Pointing  to  the  experience  of  tobacco,  alcohol  and  pharmaceutical  research,

…  one  of  the  most  impressive   and  endearing  qualities  that  Bill   has  exhibited  is  his  capacity  to   advance  beyond  the  economics

of  gambling  to  incorporate   social  justice  and  the

commercial  tension  between  the

of  vulnerable  community   members.



30 UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

Bill,  however,  displayed  a  more  pragmatic  and  ethical  perspective  in  his  attempts   to  draw  together  researchers,  regulators,  industry  operators  and  treatment  providers   together  in  conferences  to  share  ideas  and  concepts  and  to  engage  in  critical  debate  over   controversial  topics.   I  am  drawn  to  Bill’s  comments,  expressed  in  his  foreword  to  the  1982  Fifth

Conference  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking,  where  he  clearly  articulated  the  presence  of   tension  between  the  diverse  interest  groups  in  gaming  with  industry  operators  perceiving   various  threats  to  their  revenue  base  and  autonomy  through  regulatory  restrictions,  and   psychologists  and  psychiatrists  tarnishing  their  image  through  the  pathology  of  problem   gambling.  He  noted  that  “Such  perceptions  often  have  some  basis  in  fact,  but  often  there   is  quite  a  bit  more  common  ground  among  such  individuals  than  they  individually  might   be  aware  of”  (Eadington,  1982,  p.  vii).  Nevertheless,  the  tension  continues  although  there   does  appear  to  be  pockets  of  breakthrough  in  various  areas  with  governments,  industry   and  researchers  demonstrating  the  ability  to  work  in  concerted  and  collaborative  means   to  evaluate  harm  minimization  strategies.

government  and  industry  decision-­makers  who  dictate  policies  and  the  direction  of   commercial  enterprises  internationally  have  consistently  sought  Bill’s  expertise  and   advice.  This  has  included  input  regarding  economic  forecasting,  feasibility  of  gaming

regulation  across  virtually  every  international  jurisdiction  where  gaming  is  legal.  It

He  has  provided  substantive  discourse  on  the  effects  of  gaming  on  tourism,  integrated   resorts  and  their  market  structure  and  tax  environments,  the  impact  of  tribal  gaming

and  risk  taking  in  the  construction  and  development  of  the  casino  industry.   In  tribute  to  Bill’s  contribution  and  achievements,  I  can  only  highlight  the  incredible

breadth  of  his  economic  and  market  analyses  and  the  extent  to  which  he  in  many  ways

be  able  to  detail  which  impacts  can  be  directly  attributed  to  Bill  and  which  have  been  the   indirect  or  subtle  outcomes  of  his  lifetime  work.  What  I  can  state  is  that  his  reputation  is   as  one,  if  not  the  leading,  authority  on  casino  gaming,  policies  and  economic  growth.

teaching  and  training  others  through  the  curricula  and  Executive  Development  Program

of  others  to  take  on  the  mantle  of  leadership  in  their  respective  organizations.  The

Honoris  Causa

costs  associated  with  excessive  gambling.  From  the  early  days,  he  argued  that,  “It  is   conceivable  that  in  the  near  future  some  jurisdictions  in  the  United  States  are  going   to  want  to  legalize  casinos  but  also  to  restrict  the  social  impacts  associated  with  the   presence  of  casinos”  (Eadington,  1984).  Consequently,  he  recognized  the  need  to   take  into  account  the  concepts  of  responsible  gambling,  arguing  for  the  imperative  to   incorporate  harm  minimization  initiatives  into  government  policies  and  industry  codes  of   conduct.  But  his  concerns  were  not  relegated  to  the  domain  of  armchair  philosophizing.   He  actively  extended  his  academic  and  consultative  roles  by  becoming  a  member  of  the   National  Council  of  Problem  Gambling  (1998  –  2012)  and  accepting  the  position  of  its



31UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

A  tribute  to  William  Eadington’s  International  Conference  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking

Presidency  (2008-­2009).

Conference:  International  Conference  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking In  collaboration  with  Judy  Cornelius  and  others,  Bill  established  and  organized

fourteen  triennial  International  Conferences  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking  and  published   its  proceedings  through  the  Institute  for  the  Study  of  Gambling  and  Commercial   Gaming,  University  of  Nevada,  Reno.  Commencing  in  1974,  and  with  the  next  one   planned  in  2013,  this  conference  brought  together  prominent  experts  in  all  aspects  of

cannot  over-­emphasize  the  central  role  and  contribution  that  this  conference  made  in   coalescing  disparate  disciplines  into  a  cohesive  whole:  sociology,  psychology,  psychiatry,   economics,  political  science,  history,  decision  making,  neurosciences,  and  public  health   to  name  but  a  few.  These  conferences,  eagerly  looked  forward  to  by  students,  early   career  academics,  and  seasoned  researchers,  formed  the  foundation  for  interpersonal   interactions  and  multi-­disciplinary  collaborative  research  to  emerge.  There  is  no  doubt,

research  and  set  the  basis  for  effective  networking  and  consequent  strong  collaborative   ventures  and  endearing  friendships  among  researchers.   I  can  attest  to  this  personally.  While  completing  my  doctoral  dissertation  in  the  early

to  a  man  of  such  impressive  stature  (physically  as  well  as   intellectually),  I  met  many  fellow  researchers  who  remain  close   colleagues  and  friends.  Bill’s  clarity  and  depth  of  ideas,  capacity

on  my  academic  pursuits,  and  as  a  consequence,  I  have  much   to  be  grateful  for  having  met  him  and  having  participated  in  his   conferences  where  I  gained  a  wealth  of  knowledge  and  innovative   ideas.   In  writing  this  tribute,  I  had  cause  to  revisit  the  publications

names  of  participants  appearing  in  the  pages  of  these  conference   proceedings  simply  shows  the  extent  to  which  Bill  was  able  to   draw  together  a  diverse  group  of  growing  experts  to  offer  high   quality  papers  that  have,  in  the  aggregate,  set  the  contemporary   gambling  research  and  regulatory  agenda.  It  is  interesting  to  revisit   the  early  days  when  the  study  of  the  psychology  of  gambling

continued  their  interests  and  activities  to  build  international

fact  that  his  vision  and  efforts  in  organizing  his  conference  had   generated  the  spark  of  inquiry  into  many  budding  researchers,   clinicians  and  regulators,  not  to  mention  industry  operators.   From  the  earlier  pioneers  such  as  Julian  Taber,  Robert  Custer,

William  Thompson,  and  William  Cummings  among  many  others

many  more.  This  list  is  biased  to  most  of  those  I  had  met  at  Bill’s  conference  and  does   not  include  many  others  who  deserve  mentioning.

through  his  publications  or  by  having  attended  one  of  his  conferences,  the  majority  would

One  cannot  over-­emphasize  the   central  role  and  contribution   that  this  conference  made   in  coalescing  disparate

disciplines  into  a  cohesive   whole:  sociology,  psychology,   psychiatry,  economics,  political

science,  history,  decision   making,  neurosciences,  and   public  health  to  name  but  a

few.  These  conferences,  eagerly   looked  forward  to  by  students,

early  career  academics,   and  seasoned  researchers,   formed  the  foundation  for

interpersonal  interactions  and   multi-­disciplinary  collaborative

research  to  emerge.



32 UNLV  Gaming  Research  &  Review  Journal  !  Volume  16  Issue  2

of  gambling  with  the  full  colors  of  the  palette.  Using  the  brush  of  economic  studies,   the  vibrant  scene  of  commercial  gaming  from  the  background  of  legislation,  policy

through  to  the  forecasting  of  future  developments,  Bill  has  created  a  monumental  three   dimensional  enduring  work  of  art  that  will  be  admired  by  many  generations  yet  to  come.

A  Tribute tributum,  contribution)  is  wealth,  often  in  kind,  that  one  party

gives  to  another  as  a  sign  of  respect.  With  some  trepidation,  I  fear  that  this  paper  does  not   do  true  justice  as  a  tribute  to  William  R.  Eadington  or  his  contributions  to:  commercial   casino  gaming  economic  and  market  policies  and  development;;  the  importance  of   problem  and  pathological  gambling  and  its  adverse  social  and  personal  costs;;  or  to  the   opportunities  presented  by  his  conferences  for  networking,  intellectual  stimulation,

contemporary  equivalents  of  William  R.  Eadington  garnering  the  respect  accorded  to  him   by  his  peers.


Eadington,  W.R.  (1982).  Preface.  The  Gambling  Papers:  Proceedings  of  the  Fifth   National  Conference  on  Gambling  and  Risk  Taking.  Bureau  of  Business  and  Economic   Research:  University  of  Nevada,  Reno.

The   downside:  Problem  and  pathological  gambling.  Institute  for  the  Study  of  Gambling  and   Commercial  Gaming:  University  of  Nevada,  Reno.

Eadington,  W.R.  (2009).  Capital,  rent-­seeking,  and  risk  taking  in  the  casino  industry  and   the  economy  at  large.  International  Gambling  Studies,  9  (3),  181-­187.

James  H.  Frey  &  William  R.  Eadington  (Eds.).  Gambling:  Views  from  the  social  sciences.   The  Annals  of  the  American  Academy  of  Political  and  Social  Sciences,  23-­35. Global  Betting  and  Gaming  Consultants  (2011).  Global  Gaming  Report  (6th  ed.).

The  casino  and  online  gaming  market  to  2015.   PriceWaterhouseCooper  (PwC).

Inside  Las  Vegas.  Grosset  and  Dunlap:  New  York.



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