Schwartz, David G. 1973-
Schwartz, David G. 1973-
Writer, researcher, historian, educator, consultant, public speaker, broadcaster, and administrator. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Center for Gaming Research, director, 2001—. Worked in the surveillance department of an Atlantic City casino and as an adjunct professor. Regular commentator on KNPR (Nevada Public Radio station). Frequent guest on television and radio networks, including CNN, CNBC, Spiegel TV, Court TV, CBC Radio, Swiss National Radio, CNN Radio, and local news stations in cities around the United States. Appeared in documentaries, including The History of Poker, Modern Marvels: Casino Technology, Secrets of the Palms, Vegas Whales Tales, and Secrets of New York New York. Has taught seminars in creative nonfiction.
Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.
Cutting the Wire: Gambling Prohibition and the Internet, University of Nevada Press (Reno, NV), 2005.
Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, foreword by James McManus, Gotham Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Las Vegas Business Press and Casino Connection.
David G. Schwartz is a writer, educator, and historian whose work focuses on various aspects of gambling and gaming, including the history of gambling, gaming technology, and casino security. After receiving his Ph.D. in United States history, Schwartz worked in surveillance at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 2001, he assumed the position of director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Schwartz's Ph.D. dissertation became his first book, Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond. Over the years, Schwartz has become a sought-after expert on gambling and gaming history, appearing in numerous documentaries and news reports and being frequently quoted by a variety of media sources.
In Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, Schwartz "provides a study on gambling's deep-rooted place in history, and compelling proof that gambling comes as naturally to humankind as eating," remarked a Kirkus Reviews critic. Within this fast-moving historical overview of the development and practice of gambling, Schwartz "diligently traces the evolution of cards, dice, board games, bingo, lotteries, horse racing and cockfighting, with asides on intriguing variants like cricket fighting, an ancient Chinese contest in which the insect opponents were tickled on the head with a feather until they charged each other, cheered on by excited bettors," commented William Grimes in the New York Times Book Review. He looks at gambling on a world-wide basis, covering Western Europe, the United States, Asia, and numerous Native American cultures. He describes how work by brilliant thinkers such as Blaise Pascal and Galileo led to the development of mathematical concepts such as the house advantage, the statistical favor enjoyed by all casinos. He notes how commercialized gambling originated with the development of the lottery. He relates how noted writer Voltaire applied his mathematical understanding to the French lottery and won millions of francs, and how Casanova got rich operating a lottery sales office in his native Italy. Schwartz also considers modern developments, including the Las Vegas casino, Texas Hold 'Em poker, and online gambling. Elizabeth Morris, writing in the Library Journal, called Schwartz's history "well researched and highly readable," while a Publishers Weekly contributor named it a "comprehensive and often entertaining history of gambling."
Schwartz told CA: "To this point, most of my writing has been about the history of gambling, though I've started to do more work on contemporary issues, particularly online and in my freelance writing. I started writing in an academic vein, but I've consciously moved away from that style to a livelier one that is hopefully more accessible. As I work mostly in history, for me research is the most important part of writing, and the most frustrating, because there's so much out there that we can never know.
"In my historical work, my biggest challenge is how to bring the past to life in a way that is both true to history and engaging for current readers. I think that we still have many lessons to learn from the past, and that it's the job of those who write historical nonfiction to help people see them. If I can help someone look at the past and the present in a slightly different way, I think I've done my job.
"As far as my writing technique, I tend to be fairly workmanlike, though hopefully my work isn't as plodding as that sounds. I just mean that when I have something I want to write about, I do my research, immerse myself in it, and then just start writing without worrying too much about the metaphysics of it. I've never agonized over writer's block or needed much motivation to start: I just feel like I've happened upon a story that needs to be told, buckle myself in, and enjoy the ride. When I start revising, I'm usually as surprised as anyone at what I've written."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Chronicle of Higher Education, October 7, 2005, Nina C. Ayoub, review of Cutting the Wire: Gambling Prohibition and the Internet.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, p. 942.
Library Journal, October 1, 2006, Elizabeth Morris, review of Roll the Bones, p. 90.
New York Times Book Review, October 6, 2006, William Grimes, review of Roll the Bones.
Publishers Weekly, July 10, 2006, review of Roll the Bones, p. 62.
University of Nevada Press Web site,http://www.nvbooks.nevada.edu/ (March 28, 2007), biography of David Schwartz.
UNLV Center for Gaming Research Web site,http://gaming.unlv.edu/ (March 28, 2007).