May 24, 2000
RENO - When researchers, casino representatives, gamblers and
from around the world converge June 12-16 in Las Vegas for the 11th
International Conference on Gambling & Risk-Taking, they'll be tackling hot
issues in an industry that has spread dynamically in the past decade.
"Tracking the spread of gambling throughout the world has been like
a fire develop in a fireworks factory," says William Eadington, director of
the conference's sponsor: the Institute for the Study of Gambling and
Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.
"Some sectors have taken off like a rocket, others have cooled and
smoldered, while new pockets of activity have appeared out of nowhere to
become fascinating or horrific displays."
The gathering is the largest and most diverse research-based international
gaming conference. The many facets of the industry - including such
headline-grabbing topics as problem gambling, Internet gambling and
bookmaking - will be analyzed and debated by scientists, psychologists,
mathematicians, corporate executives and professional players.
"Among the various papers and symposiums will be gems of considerable
intellectual, commercial and social value that will influence the future
directions industries and societies will take with regard to gambling,"
Eadington says. "This is the 'hatchery' for new ideas of how to manage - in
all respects - the complicated phenomenon of gambling. This is a three-ring
circus of gambling research."
More than 200 presenters from 16 countries are scheduled to participate.
The opening session will explore the future of gaming in the 21st century,
with emphases on public policy, industry outlook and problem gambling.
Eadington will share his findings along with Gary Loveman, president and
chief operating officer of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., and Mark Dickerson,
who holds the Tattersall's Chair in Psychology at the University of Western
Sydney Macarthur, in Australia.
"Commercial gaming is more mainstream and sophisticated than ever,"
Eadington says. "However, people still get into trouble with excessive
gambling; loan sharks and scam artists still are attracted to the gambling
scene; mathematicians and professionals still look for an edge over gambling
games as their own golden goose; and commercial gaming lets millions pursue
the fantasy of 'who really wants to be a millionaire.' Gambling is
simultaneously a vice and a mainstream entertainment."
The worldwide prevalence of problem gambling will be discussed, including
the results of new studies in the United States, Australia, Canada, New
Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Several sessions will be devoted to
the spread of casino gaming and the social and economic impacts of casinos.
There will be specific discussion about the creation of a significant Indian
casino industry in California and its impact on Nevada's gaming industry.
The challenge of regulating Internet and cyber gambling also will be
Another session of note - in light of recent congressional attempts
wagering on collegiate sports - is "Bookmaking: The Second Oldest Profession
at the Start of the 21st Century." Peter Ruchman, general manager of
Gamblers Book Club in Las Vegas, will moderate a panel that will include
Arne Lang, handicapper and author; Scott Kamisky, senior oddsmaker for Las
Vegas Sports Consultants; and Joe Lupo, director of race and sports for the
Stardust Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Card counting and the legacy of Peter
Griffin, the late blackjack theorist and California State University,
Sacramento math professor, also will be addressed.
In total, there will be 97 sessions on the range of topics, including
casinos and money laundering, gambling among seniors, treatment and
prevention, legalizing gambling in South Africa, taxation, casino design and
aesthetics, sports betting, European gambling policy, benefits and costs of
legal gaming, legal and regulatory issues, and community impacts.
For a complete conference schedule, visit the institute's website at