A bittersweet goodbye from this editor after eight-plus years with Casino Journal.

The title of this, my last column for Casino Journal after nearly eight and a half years with the magazine, is also the last line from a book by one of my favorite authors, Bret Easton Ellis. For anyone who knows the book, American Psycho, it may seem a tad strange that I’d quote it in saying goodbye, especially since the book surrounds a fictitious character, Patrick Bateman, who is a 1980s Wall Street exec by day and crazed killer by night. Let me explain.

At the end of the book, which was later made into a hit movie in the 1990s starring Christian Bale, the reader/viewer is left with a sense that his whole life - all of his actions, decisions, interactions were all nothing more than a figment of his imagination. In his panicked discovery, searching for a way out, he notices the simple sign above a door that reads “This is not an exit” … a sign that seems to make it all make sense. For me, that line has stuck with me over many years. And I reference it today to give you a sense of just how hard it was to make the decision I’ve made, the need to say goodbye and thank you to everyone I’ve been lucky enough to interact with over the years and to note that while I’m leaving this magazine, I’m not leaving the industry I’ve grown to love over the years.

It has been an absolute pleasure being a part of Casino Journal during my time here. From the first day back in early-2000 when I joined as an assistant editor, through the magazine’s sale to various companies, to the day in late-2005 when I was given the opportunity to take the helm as its editor, Casino Journal has been my life. And it’s afforded me some experiences I’ll never forget: seeing the openings of countless gaming properties; getting behind the scenes tours of how every part of a casino operates or how all the nuts and bolts of gaming products and technologies are assembled; seeing first hand the results of how the gaming industry can positively impact communities; mingling with countless celebrities; picking the brains of gaming industry legends, high-profile politicians, businessmen and global decision-makers; and learning new skills and passions from the very subjects I’ve covered over the years.

Among the topics that have been close to my heart: correcting tragic misperceptions of the gaming industry in the public eye; chronicling how gaming has helped pull many Native American tribes from decades of poverty and allowed them to diversify and grow beyond gaming today; the industry catching up with technology after years of lagging far behind thanks to the monumental work of the Gaming Standards Association with creating standards and protocols; a real focus on improving customer service and experience and making casino properties full-scale entertainment and service packages for guests (something a few other industries could now learn from); and of course, the continuing recovery of the entire Gulf Coast from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

So I know many of you are already asking the question, “why are you leaving then?” Well, the answer is quite simple actually - it was just time. I wanted a change in direction and a chance to explore some new opportunities. I feel like I’ve done about as much as I can with Casino Journal, and love it though I may, I’m ready to challenge myself in another facet of the gaming industry.

I with I had the space to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way; those of you who I’ve interacted with that have given me more than just a story to write; those of you who have taken me under their wing, or trusted me with valuable information; those of you who took a sincere interest in what I’ve been able to do with Casino Journal; and those of you that provided input and showed respect to this brand and to me.

I can only hope I’ve managed to make a similar impact on your lives … that over the years I’ve been able to provide you with the tools, the vehicle you needed to enhance your own businesses, your own lives. If I’ve accomplished that, then I’ve done my job.

Thanks,best wishes to all and remember, this is not an exit.