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The Gaming Hall of Fame

1992 Inductee

Claudine Williams

Claudine Williams

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Claudine Williams (b. 1921) had a ground-breaking that helped pave the way for many women in the gaming industry.

Williams started working in the (illegal) gaming industry at the age of 15 in Shreveport, Louisiana. There, and in several clubs in Houston, Texas, she got a thorough education in gambling.

In 1964, Williams moved to Las Vegas with her husband, Shelby. They bought the Silver Slipper, a Strip landmark that had once been part of the Last Frontier Village but was by now an independent casino. Five years later, they sold it to Howard Hughes.

Claudine and Shelby then built their own casino, the Holiday, which opened in 1973. It was in front of a Holiday Inn and had a similar name but the casino, which looked like a riverboat, was a distinct entity. The Holiday Inn corporation owned a minority stake in the project, but the Williamses had complete autonomy in running it.

The Holiday has been lauded as the "perfect" casino--it was well run and consistently profitable. After Shelby's 1977 death, Claudine became president and general manager of the Holiday, though she'd been involved with the property's management since the start.

In 1983, Holiday Inn acquired the casino, folding it into its new Harrah's casino branch. Williams became a member of the company's board of directors. In 1992, the Holiday Casino was renamed Harrah's Las Vegas.

Outside of her work in gaming, Williams has been an active fixture in Las Vegas philanthropy for decades. Her business acumen and community spirit continue to set her apart.

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Last modified Tuesday, 10-Mar-2009 15:14:42 PDT

 

 

This page last updated Tuesday, 10-Mar-2009 15:14:42 PDT .