Skip to main content

The Gaming Collection in UNLV Special Collections is the world's premier research repository of information relating to gambling and commercial gaming. Because of the global scope of today's gaming industry, the collection embraces not only Las Vegas and Nevada gaming, but gambling throughout the world.

The Gaming Collection is the mainstay of the Center for Gaming Research in Special Collections, which provides support for scholarly inquiry into all aspects of gambling, including the business of gaming, its economic and social impacts, and its historical and cultural manifestations.

The collections document the history and statistical basis of games and gambling; the economics and regulation of the gaming industry; the psychological, social, and political effects of gambling; and the history of specific hotel and casinos throughout the world

Significant book collections have been developed in the specific and related fields of organized crime and prostitution. Cultural aspects of gaming are represented in collections of literature and periodicals concerning Las Vegas and gambling, and in the visual material of photographs and motion pictures. The Taxe Collection is a significant historical resource on gaming with book titles dating to the 16th century.

Browse the Taxe Collection which contains many rare editions of Hoyle's works on gaming dating from the 18th century.
Browse the Dreaming the Skyline digital collection historical images and architectural drawings of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.
Browse historical images of gambling and gamblers in our digital collections

Gaming Collection Resources in Special Collections

The Gaming Collection contains thousands of published works on gaming from gambling guides and gambling systems (including how-to books on games ranging from Whist to Texas Hold-em) to governmental reports on the financial impact of gaming to historical and sociological works on gaming to books on compulsive gambling. There are also biographies of gamblers, books of gambling poetry and a large collection of gambling fiction.

The historical gaming collection, the largest such collection in the world, contains the published history of games, gambling and their social context and includes many rare volumes, pamphlets, and broadsides, dating from the 16th century.

A large portion of this collection came from the private collection of Robert Taxe. This early literature ranges from treatises on specific card games, encyclopedias of game rules, moralizing sermons, Parliamentary and political debates, lottery tickets and advertisements, the history of playing cards, gentleman’s magazines, mathematical theories of chance and game theory, to the scandalous exposes and autobiographies of gamblers and their dissolute society.

Although primarily English and American, the collection includes French, Latin, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Italian editions and titles. Special Collections houses one of the largest collections of the many editions of Edmund Hoyle's games, from his original 1742 treatise on Whist, to the New Modern Hoyle. All of these can be found by using the library Quick Search.

The collection features a wide array of gaming-related periodicals both legacy and current.

Casino Publicity and Promotional Materials: Active  The International Casino Public Relations and Promotional Archive is an active collection, featuring material from virtually every major casino property and manufacturer in the United States.

Publicity and Promotional Materials: Historical contains press releases, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and other types of promotional material from over 150 casinos, regulatory agencies, and other organizations.

Manuscript collections on casinos, gaming, gamblers, and gambling issues.

Includes papers from companies:

Personal papers chronicle the work individuals who have studied or worked in the gaming industry both in Las Vegas and nationally.

Records from organizations such as the Nevada Council on Compulsive Gambling Records, the International Association of Gaming Attorneys, and the Charter Hospital of Las Vegas also form part of the collection. 

Special Collections has a number of oral histories that deal with gaming issues, some of which are available as transcriptions and others that are available in audio cassette form. All of the interviews can be listened to in Special Collections, and the transcribed histories can be viewed in Special Collections. Browse a list of transcribed interviews on gaming-related topics.

Historical playing cards can be found in the Harrah's Entertainment Corporate Archive and the Coates Collection.

UNLV Gaming podcast icon
Listen to podcasts of lectures sponsored by the Center for Gaming Research

Center for Gaming Research Website Resources

In addition to the physical materials that form the Gaming Collection available in Special Collections, the Center for Gaming Research website provides a number of original online data sources: