Giving New Meaning to the Concept of the Gold Standard

The future of gaming in Nevada is apparently not much different from the past. While the industry is exploring the possibilities of eSports and daily fantasy sports, the “good old boy” network seems to be alive and well. Regulator Richard Schuetz fears the worse.

On November 16, 2016 the Nevada’s Gaming Policy Committee held a meeting and the agenda addressed daily fantasy sports and eSports. In essence, these are new and innovative forms of gaming that many believe will help shape the future of gaming, and it appears obvious that Nevada clearly believes the future of gaming has no place for women.

The Gaming Policy Committee is comprised of 12 men. One of the members needs to be the governor of the state, six are appointed by the governor, and the other five are in some sense defined (for example, one needs to be from the Nevada Gaming Commission). What is interesting to note about this committee is that every member is male, which seems to indicate that the state of Nevada believes when it comes to discussing gaming policy there is absolutely no need to have any women around. Furthermore, all of the people invited to testify at this hearing are also males. One does wonder if women will be allowed to attend this meeting, or will there simply be no place for them here either?

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Las Vegas Strip was known as the “Mississippi of the West” because blacks were not allowed to enter the casinos on the Strip. This is clearly an embarrassing aspect of Nevada’s history. While a great many people had the courage to challenge this blatant discrimination, two in particular stand out, these being Governor Grant Sawyer and the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Ed Olsen. Unfortunately, both of these people have passed on, and apparently their sense of justice and right also passed on with them, for no one within the state seems to be bothered by the blatant discrimination that is demonstrated with this committee.

If one has the most rudimentary understanding of probability and statistics, they will understand that for this situation to develop in the absence of bias is damn tough—a virtual black swan. One also wonders if when the members of this committee have a meetings with their family, are the women within the households allowed to participate, or do just the men folk get to sit at the table?

I can think of one item that could be added to the agenda for this meeting, and that is the construction of a public relations effort addressed to the girls in the Nevada school system to let them know that when it comes to gaming, they are second-class citizens and would be foolish to believe they will be given a fair chance to participate. They should be instructed to pursue a career in another field, possibly in a less biased state.

In the mid to late 1970s I spent a great deal of time in Nevada working on a Ph.D. dissertation on the Nevada experience with regulated gaming for the period of 1945-1966. I had the opportunity to talk to a wide range of politicians within the state, including a wonderful discussion with Senator Alan Bible at his home. He was great talking about the battles with J. Edgar Hoover, Senator Kefauver, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and the like. When we talked about the episode where blacks were prohibited from entering Strip casinos, he became very quiet. He would not make eye contact with me, and while staring off into the distance he indicated that he felt shame for that having been a part of Nevada’s history. To the leaders of the state of Nevada, are you all going to be proud explaining in the future this history you are now creating?

Articles by Author: Richard Schuetz

Richard Schuetz started dealing blackjack for Bill Harrah 47 years ago, and has traveled the world as a casino executive, educator and regulator. He is sincerely appreciative of the help he received from his friends and colleagues throughout the gaming world in developing this article, understanding that any and all errors are his own.