Denver needs a guy like Howard

Nov 7, 2006 2:48 AM

God bless Howard Schwartz, the gambler’s librarian. Entering Howard’s domain, the Gambler’s Book Shop (also known as GBC, the Gamblers’ Book Club) in Las Vegas, for an industry member is on par with a Catholic visit to the Vatican, a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, and Rosie O’Donnell and her United Colors of Benetton kids’ trip to the Hot Pocket factory in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.

The Gambler’s Book Shop is the epicenter of documented gaming knowledge. Why? Howard Schwartz knows his product and his customers. No matter how many times Amazon.com suggests I might like something ridiculously tangential to the gaming field such as The Bitch Got What She Deserved — The Sandy Murphy Story by Becky Behnen Binion (not really a book”¦ just a ferocious quote), only an oracle of the gaming field like Howard can answer a simple question like whether a book is worth reading or upon a loyal customer entering the store proclaim, "we’ve got a new one" referring to a particular patron’s known reading tastes.

Colorado lacks a depository of gaming knowledge. Las Vegas has commercial outlets such as the fore noted Gambler’s Book Shop and Gambler’s Warehouse. Further, Sin City hosts an academic powerhouse for gaming studies with on campus guru, UNLV Professor Jim Kilby (www.jimkilby.net) — an unparalleled resource and Dr. David Schwartz — curator of the special collections.

There are also industry experts who have become regular presenters at gaming industry trade shows throughout the country such as Ted "Win Cards" (www.wincards.com) Gottlieb, who celebrates this month 20 years of making table games less intimidating for novice players. And for the amateur gumshoe in all of us, there’s Douglas L. Florence Sr., CPP, the wizard of all matters casino surveillance and security.

However, outside the primate city of casino gaming knowledge and industry respected conferences such as Global Gaming Exposition, Southern Gaming Summit, and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) show, it is has been a challenge to find ways to learn about the industry if you’re a citizen of Colorado .

Until now, that is. Johnson & Wales University Denver campus has approved the offering of a gaming curriculum to better prepare their hospitality focused students. Directed by Dr. Silva and assisted by Jennifer Young (with the steadfast support of Assistant Professor Dr. Christine Perakslis) at the main campus located in Providence, Rhode Island, the Denver satellite campus effort will be spearheaded by Dr. Pyle and Kimberly Tranter, MBA.

From a cursory examination of the campus library in Denver, there were only approximately six gaming/casino management books (two of which were written before I was born). The collection has room to grow, and will do so with the practical direction.

While the exact specifications of what courses will be taught within the gaming concentration have not been determined, the curriculum is sure to include casino focused derivatives of accounting and finance, culinary arts, hotel management, and marketing.

As a traditional and esteemed hospitality school, hopefully Johnson & Wales will become the de facto academic clearinghouse for gaming information for the non-traditional Colorado market.

(Founded in 1996, Yarborough Planning, LLC partners with select clientele to better understand and address business process issues. Core competencies include providing reliable and valid research, strategic / analytic marketing, and accountable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) development and implementation. David Paster is accepting new clients and may be reached at (702) 813-5062 or [email protected])