Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 3, 2011

Jeffrey Alan Simpson: July 4, 1960 - December 3, 2011

Posted by Hunter

I have some very sad news to share. Our friend, Jeff Simpson, passed away early today.

Below is a statement from his loved ones:

Jeff passed away due to complications following emergency heart surgery.

According to his wishes, his ashes will be laid to rest in a private ceremony with his closest loved ones.

Jeff is survived by his girlfriend, Jazmin Casing; his brother Jon Simpson; father, Robert Simpson, his nieces Tiffany, Nina and Hanna Simpson and his niece and godchild, Vivian Salazar.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be sent to Jeff's favorite charity, the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Jeff's biggest passion in life was the gaming industry -- he loved everything about it. As an editor and reporter covering Las Vegas gaming for over a decade, he truly loved learning the secrets and intricacies of the business from people like Steve Wynn, Michael Gaughan and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.

On a personal level, Jeff just plain loved casinos. He really loved craps and was an avid poker player who particularly enjoyed no limit hold 'em. One of his dreams was to play in the World Series of Poker and he has won numerous tournaments at the Orleans, Venetian, Caesars and The Mirage.

He lived in Las Vegas with his girlfriend of seven years and their chihuahua, Ricky (yep, he's the one tries to crash the Vegas Gang podcasts every once in awhile :)

His family and friends thank everyone for such a generous outpouring of love and support for Jeff.

For those who want to experience Jeff's TWHT columns again, you can read them all here. Jeff was an integral part of the Vegas Gang and appeared on virtually every episode.

I recently was lucky enough to do an in-depth interview with Jeff for the show. You can listen to that here.

Jeff forgot more about casinos than most of us will ever know. His insights were sharp and always impressed me - I often I wished I had thought of them first. It was an honor to do the show with Jeff and to have him writing here. We are all significantly worse off without him.

I'm in shock - I can't believe he's gone. These few sentences are surely not all I will have to say about my friend but it's all I can muster right now.

My most sincere and heartfelt condolences to Jazmin and the rest of Jeff's family.


Read archived comments (33 so far)
December 3, 2011 4:54 PM Posted by Tim

Such sad news. Jeff always had great insight and interesting opinions. I'll miss hearing him on Vegas Gang, reading his TWHT articles and following his sniping at the Vegas press on Twitter. Rest in peace, Jeff.

December 3, 2011 5:01 PM Posted by Eric

Damn it. Awful, awful news. When I saw your one-word tweet, I feared this. Condolences to all who knew & loved Jeff. I never met him, but loved his writing & insight to all things Vegas.

December 3, 2011 5:08 PM Posted by goon29

This is awful. Casino knowledge aside, Jeff seemed like a really great guy. My thoughts are with all of his friends and family.

December 3, 2011 5:19 PM Posted by Michstatemark


December 3, 2011 5:56 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I never had the privilege of spending any time with Jeff. Shaking hands and giving him a pin at VIMFP was about it. But, he always responded to my emails in a very thoughtful and sincere manner. I thought highly of his work and always felt a selfish little kinship because of our first names and our being close to the same age. I guess this is one of the wonders of the age we live in, where the passing of someone in our little Vegas Internet Mafia can affect me so deeply.
I would like to steal a quote from President Regan at the dedication of the Unknown Soldier in the mid-ejghties. I recall it was "...And for my wife and I - Thank you my son. And may God cradle you in His loving arms forever"

December 3, 2011 5:57 PM Posted by Hank

We had been friends for 10 years and chatted often. I am sorry for the loss.

December 3, 2011 6:08 PM Posted by detroit1051

Such sad news. He was very important to Vegas Gang and Las Vegas journalism. Although I hadn't met Jeff, he always seemed so genuine. I'm so glad we were able to enjoy the extended Vegas Gang interview with him less than a month ago. RIP.

December 3, 2011 6:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Jeff was a Sun columnist when I moved here in 2005, and I enjoyed reading his stuff. I was a surprised when he was let go in a round of Greenspun cutbacks, considering the Sun consolidated what had been an entire daily paper into a two-sheet insert in the RJ and he seemed like a good fit for both the Sun and what became Vegas INC; but I was even more surprised when Hunter brought him on as a contributor for this blog because I always had thought of him as the "big media" guy hanging out with the bloggers on the podcast.

I got to spend a few minutes aside with Jeff at the meetup this year, talking about whether Wynn Cotai would be Steve's last resort (he felt it would be, but they'd never acknowledge it) and how The Cosmopolitan caters their offerings in entertainment etc to fit with their marketing and customer profile. His participation in the show, such as the history of New Aladdin and his parting words to Columbia Sussex, was classic stuff. Thinking to it now, it's more difficult to sink in that he's gone.

Jeff will be missed. Condolences to his family.

December 3, 2011 6:17 PM Posted by Trevor Hayes

I worked with Jeff at the R-J and shared many laughs and fun times with him, except when he was destroying the competition in basketball. I did get him back on the tennis court.

Jeff's sense of humor, good nature, and coverage of the gaming industry will be missed by many.

December 3, 2011 7:04 PM Posted by Amar Chhabra

I just logged on to see how Jeff was doing. This is the worse news ever. My first trip to Vegas was with my family when I was 4 or 5. Second was when I was 14. The second trip was when I fell in love. I was in junior high and remember going to the library looking at microfish of who owned what casino, casino history, and the tidbits I could find out about how these places were managed. From then unitl a few years ago people were either impressed with how much I knew or thought I was a nut job who needed to get a life. When I came across the Vegas Gang Podcast, The former Strip Podcast, and Five Hundy by Midnight it was so refreshing because I knew there were other people who shared an interest of Vegas at my level. With that being said I loved the insight Jeff brought to the show. I was hoping to see a post of Jeff is recovering and in stable condition. I still can't belive this.

Hunter (and the rest of the Vegas Gang), Steve & Miles, Tim & Michelle thanks for everything you guys do in faciliting getting guys like me all this great information.

RIP Jeff. I know you're in an awesome casino in the sky chucking the dice and rolling it in.

December 3, 2011 7:13 PM Posted by Joelowe2

So sad... My condolences to his friends and loved ones.

December 3, 2011 7:24 PM Posted by SEAN

rest in piece, Jeff.

December 3, 2011 7:27 PM Posted by Steve Friess

This is a tremendous shock and massive loss for the casino and journalism worlds as well as those of us who knew him and admired him. I'm so grateful Hunter too all that time for that leisurely, in-depth interview last month, which I listened to just yesterday in flight to South America. That is now a wonderfully historic conversation, important for posterity. Miles is here with me and we are both really sad.

December 3, 2011 7:47 PM Posted by oupiglet

May his memory be a blessing.

December 3, 2011 7:54 PM Posted by marc

Sucks to lose such an intelligent, humble person. My thoughts are with his family (which includes everyone here).

December 3, 2011 8:02 PM Posted by Erik Huey

Jeff was a friend and former RJ colleague of mine also. He and I worked on the business desk together when I was a junior cub reporter back in late 2003-04. He welcomed me to the newsroom and was very warm and gracious. As I was laid off from the RJ this past August, he also was very comforting and sympathetic. His words of comfort meant to much to me then at such a low point in my life. He and I shared a common notion that Las Vegas' economy needs diversification desperately and since my layoff, we tweeted periodically about the subject. From his writings to his radio interviews to his TV interviews, Jeff was a class act. I'm very shaken up writing this. Jeff, thank you for having the candor and kindred spirit of a newsman. I'll miss you, thank you and may you rest in peace.

December 3, 2011 8:48 PM Posted by BigHoss

What a devastating loss. I tweeted earlier this week before I had heard about the heart problem that I had been listening to the Vegas Gang interview and I felt like I had been riding to work with Jeff and Hunter for the past week. I will miss so many things about Jeff: his sense of humor, his critical eye, his thorough analysis, his friendship. I'm so glad I knew him and I'll miss him.

December 3, 2011 8:49 PM Posted by Launce Rake

Jeff was one of the smartest people I've ever met, and I know a few theoretical physicists and brain surgeons. He was a thoughtful listener as a reporter and editor. My favorite story?
He wanted to tighten up a lead on a mundane weather story I wrote about high winds. He suggested using the phrase "sustained gusts." I told him that was an oxymoron and that, as my editor, he had the right to write it that way, but it would be wrong.
He left in my original phrasing. I point this out because nine out of 10 editors would have changed it anyway. He was the one that listened. Thanks, Jeff, for listening.

December 3, 2011 9:06 PM Posted by Ted Newkirk

Wow... this hit like a ton of bricks. I've been this business 16 years and I don't know jack compared to Jeff. We've truly lost one of the great gaming industry minds and way too early. I'll miss both his writings here and appearances on Vegas Gang.

Thanks to Hunter for having the initiative to give Jeff a place to keep writing after his unfortunate departure from the Sun.

Although minimal, it is of some comfort to know that Jeff lived a full life (as per his solo interview last month) and got to work in a field he loved. Those of us who do are lucky indeed.

December 3, 2011 9:14 PM Posted by Jeasasa

Very sad, didn't know him, but looked forward to reading his articles.

December 3, 2011 9:44 PM Posted by Roger Gros

Jeff and I have a long history. A couple of years after we started Global Gaming Business, I lost my managing editor and turned to Jeff because he clearly was the most connected individual who was covering gaming at that time. I knew he was right for the magazine and we began a round of negotiations. We made a deal but when he went back to the Sun, they couldn't lose him and made him an offer he could no refuse. When he was laid off, I would have loved to bring him on but had of course filled that position. Just recently, we talked about working together again and we're walking down that path. And then this news came in. I am absolutely devastated, not because I will never work side by side with him, but because I've lost a good friend. My thoughts go out to Jazmin and his family because Jeff was a very good person and a true professional.

December 3, 2011 10:08 PM Posted by Howard Sutz

Very sad news today. Jeff was a colleague, competitor and a friend. I'll miss the banter with him on Nevada Week in Review. He loved the gaming industry and loved covering the subject and the personalities. He will be missed.

December 3, 2011 10:40 PM Posted by Chris Hall

I am still shaken by this loss. While I only got to meet Jeff in person a few times, I've been reading/listening to him for so many years he seemed like family. He was always very quick to answer and discuss any questions for him that I had and even right now I have a text file on my computer desktop of various casino related thoughts I was going to email him about when I got the chance. This is not only the loss of a tremendous individual and friend to many, but a loss of vast amounts of information related to the gaming industry. Hunter, I'm so glad you were able to get an extended interview with him recently. I know this loss will affect many, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all family and friends of Jeff.

December 4, 2011 1:48 AM Posted by Ian Sutton

Compiling the gaming news over the years I've always been happy reading and linking to Jeff's work. We had a brief chat at G2E this year about the industry, Internet poker, the show move etc... and all seemed well. Big shock, and at just 51 gone way too soon.

December 4, 2011 1:58 AM Posted by Paul Shanahan

I am very sad to hear about Jeff. I liked his writing a lot for the various newspapers and blogs he wrote for about the casino industry. I think I have listened to every Vegas Gang and Jeff contributed much to the conversation. My condolences to his family.

December 4, 2011 4:26 AM Posted by Chuck K

So sad to hear this terrible news. I have listened to the VG podcasts for a few years, and knew Jeff's voice and thoroughly enjoyed his commentary and insights. I'm so thankful for Hunter's in-depth interview with Jeff just a couple weeks ago, which gave us a deeper look into his history. I have never even seen a picture of Jeff, but have this image of him through his voice thanks to his work on VG. He will be sorely missed by all of us, and I hope that just a tiny speck of comfort can come to the family knowing how Jeff positively impacted so many people.

December 4, 2011 10:01 AM Posted by keith

Such sad news. I really enjoyed his profile podcast last month as well as hearing him on the podcast. The city is losing a true asset. He will be missed on the round table.
My condolences to his family and loved ones.

December 4, 2011 10:51 AM Posted by Steve Covington

I am going to miss Jeff's commentary on everything Vegas.... such a pussy sad and shocking loss. Hope you're in that night casino in the sky...

December 4, 2011 9:55 PM Posted by Peter Machon

Such sad news indeed. I was always entertained and informed by Jeff's thoughts on the Vegas Gang; I'm far from Vegas, but always felt closer and more involved thanks to Jeff's insight.

He will be missed, and my condolences to his friends and family.


December 5, 2011 6:55 AM Posted by Al From San Diego

I admired Jeff''s work tremendously. His thourough insight, sprinkled with an expressive sense of humor made him stand out. For those that love to read about the gaming industry he will never be replaced. My sincere condolences.

December 5, 2011 9:44 AM Posted by Jeff Burbank

Jeff was one of the classiest journalists I've ever met, and the highest on that score in Vegas. In a profession known for inflated egos and arrogance, he exhibited neither. He was good at all of it -- reporting, writing, editing, plus managing other journalist-egoists, which is no small feat in itself, with humility and understanding. He was one of the few that just about everyone liked, and he deserved more than he got from the LV journalism business.

I recall about 10 years ago, when my book on my gaming reporting in Vegas in the 1980s to 1990s came out -- several years after I'd left as a reporter for the R-J -- no one at the R-J wanted to review it or even acknowledge it. But Jeff, without my input, insisted that a story run on it, and he wrote it himself. He also mentioned the book in his gaming column in the R-J. I've always been grateful to him, now to his memory.

December 5, 2011 11:14 AM Posted by David McKee

Jeff's opinions during Vegas Gang tapings were notable both for the papal authority with which they were delivered and the extraordinary reservoir of memory that he could tap in a split second. To say that he knew more about the history of gaming than most of us could learn would be merely to state the obvious. The tributes on this page attest to the remarkable number of people whose lives he touched -- a humbling spectacle to behold.

December 6, 2011 7:11 AM Posted by Aaron_b

I was very shocked and saddened to learn of Jeff’s passing. I have enjoyed reading Jeff’s writing for years. I will greatly miss his commentary on the Vegas Gang Podcasts. I only meet Jeff once just over a month ago at the VIMFP. The Vegas community has lost one of their greatest voices. My thoughts and prayers are with Jeff’s family and friends.