This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with David Schwartz.
David G. Schwartz is a writer, historian and Director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV. He also is a Forbes contributor who recently wrote a column on Circus Circus celebrating its 50th anniversary and what he calls “its long, surprising, and sometimes sordid history.”
In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Schwartz talks about the importance of Circus Circus in the scope of Las Vegas history; the enduring theme of being a playground for both children and adults; the life and times of Jay Sarno, who was never a guy to do things small when he could do them big, and who hated Las Vegas when he first arrived; the two surprising people who Sarno considered friends; why long-time employees are proud of their property; and the role of Circus Circus in Las Vegas in the 21st century.
Schwartz has written several books, including Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas, Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, and Boardwalk Playground: The Making, Unmaking, & Remaking of Atlantic City.
He has been extensively quoted in the media and featured in television programs. Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Schwartz earned his bachelor’s degree (a double major in anthropology and history) as well as his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania before receiving his doctorate in US History from UCLA.
His academic interest in gambling stems from his hands-on experience in the casino industry as a security officer, surveillance officer, and Mr. Peanut.