William Richard Eadington, professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno and internationally recognized as the foremost authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gambling, passed away peacefully at his home in Crystal Bay, Nev., on Feb. 11, 2013 at the age of 67 following an 18-month battle with cancer.
Born on Jan. 1, 1946 to the late Elizabeth and Thomas Eadington, William (Bill) grew up in the town of Brea in Orange County, California. He attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, then Santa Clara University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. On Feb. 3, 1968, at the age of 22, he married Margaret Dean, with whom he had gone to grade school at St. Mary’s in Fullerton, Calif.
In 1969, after completing his Ph.D. in Economics from Claremont Graduate School, he and Margaret moved to Reno and he went to work at the University of Nevada, where he spent his entire 43-year career on the faculty of the Economics Department in the College of Business.
Over the course of his prolific career, Bill became the leading academic expert in the field of gaming. He founded the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno. He wrote extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of commercial gaming, and served as a consultant and advisor for governments and private sector organizations throughout the world on issues related to gaming laws, casino operations, regulation, legalization and public policy.
Bill was a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism and a former associate editor of the “Annals of Tourism Research and the Journal of Gambling Studies.” He served as the organizer of the University’s ongoing triennial International Conferences on Gambling and Risk Taking, which began in 1974, and served as founder and co-moderator of the annual Executive Development Programs for Senior Level Casino Executives since 1991.
In 1990, Bill was awarded a Foundation Professorship at the University, and starting in 2004, he held the Philip G. Satre Chair of Gaming Studies at the University. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame with a Special Achievement Award for Gaming Education. Bill served as an Academic Visitor to the London School of Economics, as a Visiting Professor at the Center for Addiction Studies, Harvard Medical School, and as a Visiting Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
He also was on the faculty of the Centre for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Salford (U.K.). In 2008, Bill was awarded a Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa by the University of Macau. In addition to the notable academic and policy contributions Bill made to the field of gaming during his career, he made a larger personal impact on the students, industry and government professionals with whom he taught, worked and came to know personally.
Bill is survived by his wife, Margaret Eadington, his son Michael Eadington, his daughter and son-in-law, Diana and Darren Reed, and his three grandchildren, Sophia, Roxanne and Scarlett. He is also survived by his sister Elizabeth, his brothers Robert and George, his siblings’ spouses, beloved nieces and nephews, and many special friends around the world.
Bill brought a unique and wonderful sense of intelligence, humor and insight into the world that he shared with his family and friends. He will be missed dearly by his loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe or Tahoe Safe Alliance.
A service will be held for Bill Eadington this Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Incline Village, Nevada.