NEW YORK — 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, Nev. He was 67. The cause was cancer, said his colleague and friend Richard Schuetz.
Dr. Eadington first visited Las Vegas in the late 1960s. 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. Dr. 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.
Dr. Eadington was the longtime director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno. He proposed the school’s first course on gambling economics in 1972. In 1974, he hosted the first National Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking.
He argued that groups with differing opinions about gambling would make more progress if they worked together. In 2011, Dr. Eadington was elected to the American Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame.