Harvey Fuller was a Los Angeles police officer from 1946 until he retired in 1977. He developed an interest in gaming checks and their history, but it wasn’t until he retired that he had full time to devote to his avocation. Fuller began to travel throughout Nevada, stopping not only in every casino he could find, but coffee shops, diners, barber shops, anywhere that locals gathered and traded stories.
With his investigative training, Harvey listened and steered conversations to old clubs, gaming figures and casino history. His note-taking procedure was unique: he grabbed handfuls of keno tickets with blank backs, and wherever he went he wrote his reminders on the backs of the keno tickets. His research eventually led him to the State’s records, although he found a huge gap from 1948 to 1955, because a fire had destroyed many of the Gaming Control Board’s original records. With persistence and investigation, Fuller did his best to fill in those gaps.
Through Howard Herz, Harvey’s Resort in Lake Tahoe became interested in Fuller’s notes and research, and purchased boxes full of his keno tickets, matchbooks, slips of paper, all of which comprised the research he’d been conducting for years. In 1991, with the assistance of Editor Howard Herz, Harvey J. Fuller’s Index of Nevada Gambling Establishments was published. To this day, Fuller’s Index stands as a primary research source for anyone interested in Nevada gaming history.
In the late 1990’s, Doug Saito persuaded Fuller to talk to him in detail about his research, recollections, and experiences in traveling throughout Nevada and talking with old-timers about their memories. Saito occasionally publishes bits of his conversations with Fuller in his magazine, Chip Chat. Those who have attended CC>CC conventions will remember seeing Harvey Fuller with his omnipresent cigarette, always deeply involved in conversation with a seasoned collector, and always telling stories about his original and valuable investigations.
Harvey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Harvey passed away in 2004.