Yes, you too can can be a gaming-industry blogger, with the help of but a few absolutely indispensable Web sites. The ones that I check Monday-Friday without fail (and, as they say on Dancing with the Stars, "in no particular order") are:
GamingFloor.com: The best aggregator of casino news from around the globe, especially since Editor Ian Sutton has an eye for the bizarre. Tons of eye-catching video, too, plus Ian's own on-the-spot reporting from far-flung venues like G2E Asia.
DieIsCast.com: Very eclectic but Dr. David G. Schwartz pounces on fascinating (and not very obvious) stories, often making droll pop-culture connections ... which frequently involve Star Trek.
TwoWayHardThree: Terrific discussions of casino architecture, intermingled with scoops that eagle-eyed moderator Hunter Hillegas snaps up -- not infrequently beating the local papers to the punch. His readers/forum contributors are some of the best-informed you'll encounter.
Las Vegas Sun: You're not going to find better gaming coverage this side of the Wall Street Journal and labor reporter Michael Mishak is one of the finest in the business. (The R-J's pathologically anti-union stance is probably to blame for its feeble coverage of workplace issues, as that paper's editorial-page psychoses leach into its news priorities.) Unlike its cross-town rival, the Sun doesn't take its marching orders from the Chamber of Commerce, either.
Press of Atlantic City: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed paper is king. Oh, and Press: Your new "reader-friendly" redesign blows donkeys. But if there's news a-brewin' on the Boardwalk, this is the first place to look. For more selective -- but in-depth-- coverage, Suzette Parmley in the Philadelphia Inquirer is tops in the region.
Vegas Happens Here: No morning is complete without a jolt of news from the indefatigable Steve Friess. His blog isn't casino-centric but he's quick to spot a breaking story or one that might fly under the radar ... and his Min-and-Bill relationship to Steve Wynn makes for tremendous ongoing fun. Lots of pictures, too.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Only because it exists (which, existentially, is open to debate). Like the elephant in your parlor, it must be acknowledged and sometimes its slave-driven reporters turn in exceptional work, despite their editors' best [sic] efforts to beat them down. (Inexcusably, last week the entire gaming staff was detailed to chronicle seemingly every hand played at the World Series of Poker.) The paper's shining achievement was Joan Whitely's exposé of dangerous corner-cutting at Harrah's Entertainment. Relative newcomer Arnold Knightly has ferreted out some laudable scoops, too. Howard Stutz, look to thy laurels!
Honorable mentions go to three sites that I can't always check on a daily basis, but which should not pass without notice ...
Pechanga.net: An exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) aggregration -- but it's a sieve which captures many tribal and regional gaming stories that would otherwise escape notice.
VegasTodayandTomorrow.com: Anybody -- and I mean anybody -- interested in the history and future of Sin City should have this site bookmarked. Mark Adams pores over the Web and any other source at his reach, presenting what bids fair to be the definitive online museum of Las Vegas' evolution. Our "Question of the Day" about the never-built Conrad was greatly aided by Adams' preexisting work. And the Coke-vs.-Pepsi map is must-see Internet.
The Movable Buffet: More showbiz- than bidness-focused. However, in a Vegas blogosphere infested with sycophants, Richard Abowitz provides a needed corrective to the local fawning over the celebutard of the moment. If you wish to following the continuing meltdown of Criss F. Angel step by step, Abowitz is your man. He even makes a colloquy with Holly Madison interesting. The chap's a miracle worker!
Farrah Fawcett, R.I.P.: One of the greatest of Seventies icons has died, at age 62. I was always more of a Cheryl Ladd fan myself, but Fawcett showed herself to be seriously "misunderestimated," especially in her Oscar-worthy turn as Robert Duvall's adulterous wife in The Apostle. Haven't seen it? Rent it! Ditto the severely underrated See You in the Morning, a still from which graces the Los Angeles Times obituary. Speaking of movies ...
Scott Walker 30 Century Man: A rock-and-roller who draws frequent comparisons to Samuel Beckett? Meet reclusive American expat Scott Walker and discover that the analogy has surprising validity. His handsome baritone is also one of the most compelling singing voices to emerge from the U.S. And speaking of singing ...
Patti LuPone's Orleans gig last weekend may just be the downpayment on a long-term deal. If so, it'd be one of the best shows in town and it fits the Orleans Showroom hand in glove. If only LuPone would drop from her set list that anthem to codependency, Oliver!'s "As Long As He Needs Me." She unloads so many mannerisms upon it that it's like Bill Sikes pummeling Nancy. Still and all, I'd take it over a second visit to American Superstars (also reviewed). Aaaaaaaaaaannndddd speaking of shows ...
I've received a critique of the Harmon Theater's new Monday-night, witching-hour potpourri, After the Show. While I'm not at liberty to quote any of it, suffice it to say that After the Show is described in such hallucinatory and pejorative terms that the bottom line is, even if you're a local resident and thus get in free, you've still paid too much. Better we should stay home and watch Jon Stewart, with a Conan O'Brien chaser.
Danny Gans: Still dead -- but not yet resting in peace. For the truly morbid, the R-J has published the 911 call made by his widow (as did the Sun). Listen if you care to; I didn't.