Dennis Gomes (1944-2012) was a regulator, gaming executive, and casino owner. His involvement in the gaming industry spans over four decades. He began his gaming career as the youngest-ever chief of the Audit Division for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and he ended it as the co-owner of Resorts Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. - grabbing headlines from start to finish.
As a gaming regulator Gomes uncovered the Stardust skim, the largest casino skim in gaming history. After this bust, Gomes decided to clean up the gaming industry from the inside and worked at more than a dozen casinos and resorts across the country, including Indiana Live, in Shelbyville, Ind., the Tropicana both in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, and the Hilton in Las Vegas.
As a gaming operator, Gomes revolutionized the industry with his propensity for out-of-the-box marketing such as the tic-tac-toe playing chicken and a commercial featuring an Obama impersonator that attracted the attention of the White House – just to name a few.
Gomes’ impact reached across gaming industry
Dennis Gomes, the Resorts Casino Hotel chief executive officer and part-owner who died last night, made a profound impact elsewhere over the course of his career, but his work in Nevada stands on its own as exemplary.
Helming the Gaming Control Board’s Enforcement Division in the 1970s, Gomes was the point man for Nevada’s drive to root out organized crime from its casino industry. Gomes personally led the investigation of the Argent Corp., which, as fictionalized in the film Casino, was one of the landmark moments in the anti-mob effort. It might be fitting that the Mob Museum opened in downtown Las Vegas recently, because without Dennis Gomes, the last chapters of the mob in Las Vegas casinos might have been written quite differently.
The work that Gomes did in Nevada was so impressive that, when New Jersey legalized casinos, he was tapped as the chief of the Special Investigations Division of the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, which is roughly analogous to Nevada’s Gaming Control Board. Gomes had the tough job of setting up the division’s investigative framework and of investigating the applicant for New Jersey’s first casino license, Resorts International.
Gomes was then lured back to Nevada to become the vice president of casino operations for Hilton Hotels, overseeing the Las Vegas Hilton and Flamingo Hilton. He then served as president of Steve Wynn’s Golden Nugget casino before returning to Atlantic City to help revive Donald Trump’s struggling Trump Taj Mahal casino (personal note: I worked for Gomes in security in these years).
Gomes was also notable for righting the Tropicana, which had also begun taking on water, and planning The Quarter, a retail, hotel and dining expansion that both responded to the opening of the Borgata mega resort and to the growing competition from surrounding states.
But he was in the process of making his biggest impact in Atlantic City at the time of his death. With a partner, he had bought Resorts—the same casino that he’d investigated more than 30 years earlier—and was in the process of reinventing it. As an owner, he raised some eyebrows by opening up the city’s first gay nightclub in a casino, but that was exactly the kind of fresh thinking and outreach to previously neglected groups needed in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City’s casino business has long been criticized for not looking beyond slot machines, but Gomes was one executive—and owner—who consistently championed the kinds of nongaming attractions that have kept Las Vegas viable despite new competition.
By helping to establish a rigorous regulatory regime in New Jersey, Gomes aided in the national growth of the gaming industry, which assisted the legitimization and continuing growth of Nevada’s casino business.
Full article is here: Gomes’ impact reached across gaming industry | Vegas Seven
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Last modified Wednesday, 19-Dec-2012 22:38:20 UTC
This page last updated Wednesday, 19-Dec-2012 22:38:20 UTC .