Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bill Eadington, 67, Expert on Gambling and Its Effects

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bill Eadington, 67, Expert on Gambling and Its Effects

Article excerpt

Mr. Eadington was one of the first academics to study gambling, as both a force for economic development and a challenging social problem.

Bill Eadington, an economist who was one of the first academics to study gambling, as both a force for economic development and a challenging social problem, died Monday in Crystal Bay, Nevada. He was 67.

The cause was cancer, said his colleague and friend Richard Schuetz.

Mr. Eadington first visited Las Vegas in the late 1960s, and the trip began profitably. While his brother-in-law placed bets at a blackjack table at the Aladdin Casino, he stood behind him counting cards. Soon, they had won about $1,000. Mr. Eadington, a math whiz, was pursuing his doctorate in economics at the time and briefly considered applying his skills as a professional gambler. Then he started losing -- and he went back to graduate school in California.

Yet over time, he recalled in 2003, he became "a different kind of gambling addict."

Mr. Eadington was the longtime director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno. When he arrived in Reno in 1969 to join the university's economics faculty, he recalled, he expected to find a library "filled with scholarly tomes dedicated to the nuances of gambling." Few existed. When he proposed the school's first course on gambling economics in 1972, one of his guest speakers, a Reno casino pioneer, showed up armed and inebriated.

In 1974, Mr. Eadington was host to the first National Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking. It drew not only gambling critics and academics but also casino executives. Known within the industry as the Eadington Conference and originally held annually, it has become one of the field's most wide-ranging events, featuring international speakers, business school experts, poker players, anthropologists and advocates for gambling addicts.

"He arrived on campus in 1969 and, for all intents and purposes, invented the field of gambling studies," said Bo Bernhard, a sociologist who is executive director of the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. …

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