Editor's Introduction - Bo Bernhard

Hello Journal Friends,

They say of teaching that one never knows where one’s influence ends - as teachers teach people, who in turn teach people, who in turn teach still more people. Our field of study has been reminded – too often – of this beautiful legacy as several “founding figures” have passed away recently. After this journal published a tribute issue last fall to our friend, mentor, and gaming research pioneer Dr. William Eadington, the man we called “our Bill” passed away in February, 2013. As Bill was a founding editor of this journal (and indeed, of virtually every intellectual endeavor in the history of this field), we are all forever indebted to his friendship and mentorship.

This fall, another pioneer, Joanna Franklin, passed away. Joanna was another of those souls who seemed to be present at virtually every gaming-oriented panel on the planet, whenever problem gambling approaches were thoughtfully discussed. Over three decades of work, Joanna directly or indirectly trained virtually every clinician in the field – and more than a few of us research types, government leaders, and industry folks as well.

Hence, to start this issue, I wanted to share a remembrance that moved us beyond words, and during a difficult time indeed. After Bill passed away, Joanna sent our offices a note that we shall never forget. She asked that we refrain from sharing the contents of her note during our International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking this past May -- and we did not mention it to anyone at the time. To be honest, now that I am sharing it with our “Journal family” I feel, for the first time in nearly twenty years of professional work alongside Joanna, that I’m doing something “AJA” (against Joanna’s advice).

However, the sentiment captured here is too perfect, too Joanna, too much a reminder of the spirit she exuded as she helped build a special area of inquiry and service in the gaming world.


Hi Bo,

My support and prayers to you and the staff at UNLV on Bill’s passing. I know that his family, his friends, and his colleagues are all missing him terribly. I just checked on flights to Reno for his funeral service Saturday and found the cost a bit steep at over $1000.

Bo, I have been truly blessed with this great new job, and money (for the first time in my life) is not the issue it once was. But after a bit of thought, it occurred to me that I would rather put the funds towards something for Bill, for his memory and his legacy of learning.

So, if you agree, I’d like to ask you to put that $1000 toward some scholarships to the International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking. I will trust that you will identify some folks new to the field with curiosity, passion and intellect that would not otherwise be able to attend. I recall quite clearly Bill and Judy Cornelius helping me on at least one occasion to attend the conference when funds were very tight.

It is time for me to pay it forward.

Let me know who to make the check out to, and where to send it, and thanks so much for your help during such a very sad time. I know Bill’s trust in your team to carry on in his stead is more than well placed. Let me know if there is absolutely anything - anything I can do to help.

Love and prayers, Joanna


As a postscript: we found three people in the field who could not possibly have attended the conference without Joanna’s help. During the conference itself, I surreptitiously pointed them out to Joanna, and her smile at that moment is something I will carry forever. Joanna, like those three lucky souls, your field -- the entire problem gambling treatment field that you personally taught – will always be in your debt.

In this issue, we begin with an article that digs deep into the impact of taxation on casino operations. Drs. Ahlgren, Tanford, and Singh investigate how the 2003 Illinois gaming tax restructuring impacted casino promotional spending by casinos in the jurisdiction. Revealingly, operators seemed to reduce their expenditures on promotions when faced with a tax rate tier increase, perhaps driving gaming dollars to other jurisdictions.

Continuing our trend of taxation articles, Dr. Kahlil Philander surveys the application of normative tax theory to gambling tax policy. Dr. Philander emphasize that while sin-based taxes can increase economic welfare, we have to balance those taxes with the actual harm external to the gambler and gaming operator.

We next move online, where our own Dr. Brett Abarbanel has established the seminal theoretical work in the online gambling e-servicescape. Dr. Abarbanel sets a foundation for understanding the ways in which online gamblers interact with their virtual environment, and suggests ways these core concepts can be useful for online gambling site designers and operators.

The journal then takes a turn toward the mathematical, where Drs. Singh, Lucas, Dalpatadu, and Murphy challenge the current standard use of the central limit theorem to approximate confidence limits for casino win and rebates on loss on games that have a skewed distribution (such as slots and baccarat). Jump into their work to see simulations of slot and baccarat play that estimate the true probability distribution.

We wrap up the research section of this Fall issue with a discussion-provoking article from Dr. Toni Repetti and her graduate student, SoYeon Jung. The authors provide some exploratory statistics on industry interest in creating a master’s degree in casino management. Citing a need for more communication between education institutions and industry stakeholders about how higher education can better prepare graduates for real-world jobs, Dr. Repetti and Ms. Jung demonstrate that a discussion on a gaming management masters is ready to begin.

In this issue’s review section, we have two great papers. First, we have Dean Macomber’s thorough summary of the 15th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking, with a poignant nod to Dr. Bill Eadington’s role in creating the conference and the role it has played in gambling research. We would like to extend special thanks to Global Gaming Business editor Roger Gros for his generosity in allowing us to re-publish this version here.

The issue concludes with an overview of how the Mob Museum came to be in downtown Las Vegas from Michael Green, recent winner of the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Historical Association (many congratulations from the Journal!).

Bo J. Bernhard, Ph.D.
Executive Editor

Original Research Articles


Impact of the 2003 Illinois Gaming Tax Rate Increase on Marketing Spending
Mikael B. Ahlgren, Sarah Tanford, and Ashok Singh


Casino Games and the Central Limit Theorem
Ashok Singh, Anthony F. Lucas, Rohan J. Dalpatadu, and Dennis J. Murphy