Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame Gala & Dinner
Thursday, May 9
2018 marked the innauguration of the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame, honoring some of the people responsible for bringing the progressive style of casino development and gaming regulation to the Magnolia State as the first inductees. In one year, this event has established itself as a “can’t miss” opportunity to rub elbows with the greats of Mississippi gaming.
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Co-Founder, Grand Casinos
After attending the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Business Administration in 1964, Mr. Berman began his career with Berman Buckskin, his family’s leather business. Over the next 16 years, he helped grow the business into a major specialty retailer with 27 outlets. After selling Berman Buckskin to W.R. Grace in 1979, Mr. Berman continued as President and Chief Executive Officer and led the company to become one the country’s largest retail leather chains. In 1990, Mr. Berman participated in the founding of Grand Casinos, Inc. and took the company public in 1991. In less than five years the company opened eight casino resorts in four states with employment growing from three to over twenty thousand people.
In 1994, Mr. Berman financed the initial development of Rainforest Cafè, an integrated restaurant and retail concept. Having served as Chairman and CEO from 1994 to 2000, Mr. Berman led the way for expansion of the Rainforest concept with an IPO. In 1998, Grand Casinos’ Mississippi assets were merged with the gaming division of Hilton Hotels Corporation to form Park Place Entertainment Corporation. As Chairman and CEO of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Berman was instrumental in creating the World Poker Tour. Mr. Berman has been bestowed with many honors including: Gaming Executive of the Year Award (1996); The National Poker Hall of Fame induction (2002); The Casino Lifetime Achievement Award from Raving Consulting and Casino Journal (2009); the Senior National Poker Hall of Fame and the American Gaming Association Hall of Fame (2016). He also belongs to the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame. Mr. Berman currently serves on the Board of Directors of Golden Entertainment, Inc. and provides consulting services to the Chief Executive Office. He also serves on the Boards of several other companies and provides development and consulting services to numerous other businesses.
Founder, Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp.
There are few names more synonymous with the casino industry than the Binion name. For nearly 50 years, the innovations and style of Jack Binion led to unparalleled success in the industry. Mr. Binion developed the Horseshoe Casino into a Las Vegas icon, renowned for its high limits and generous odds. Horseshoe’s reputation as a pure gambling joint grew, and Mr. Binion cemented that reputation in 1970 when Horseshoe hosted the first-ever gambling tournament: The World Series of Poker.
Mr. Binion has always recognized the importance of giving his guests the best gamble along with personalized customer service. He committed himself to being visible and available to his customers, and his hands-on management style has endeared him to customers and employees alike.
In 1994, Mr. Binion brought the Horseshoe style to the Midwest. He established the privately held Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp., and opened the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, La., in July of that year and another Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Miss., in 1995; both becoming market leaders. In 1999, Horseshoe Gaming purchased the Empress Casinos in Joliet, Ill., and Hammond, Ind. In September 2003, less than ten years after starting the company, Mr. Binion agreed in principle to sell Horseshoe Gaming and its properties to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. for $1.45 billion—one of the largest casino transactions ever. The deal was finalized on July 1, 2004. Following the sale, Jack Binion formed a private investment company and family office, Pilot Grove Management, LLC which he is currently the Chairman of.
William S. Boyd
Executive Chairman, Boyd Gaming
One of the best-known figures in the gaming industry, Bill Boyd is the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Boyd Gaming Corporation. As Executive Chairman, he serves as the primary liaison of Boyd Gaming with customers and team members, and takes a leading role in shaping the Company’s strategic direction and vision.
Bill Boyd practiced law in Las Vegas for more than 15 years and was a partner with his father Sam Boyd, among others, in the Union Plaza Hotel & Casino and the Eldorado Casino. In 1973, Bill and his father co-founded Boyd Gaming Corporation, opening its first property, the California Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas, in January 1975. At that time, Bill left the practice of law and began his full-time career in the gaming industry.
After his father passed away in January 1993, Bill succeeded him as Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming, and led the Company’s initial expansion across the United States, beginning with the opening of Sam’s Town Tunica in May 1994. Bill served as CEO of Boyd Gaming until January 2008, when he was succeeded by current Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith.
In addition to his work at Boyd Gaming, Bill has been an active philanthropist and civic leader for decades. He was on the Board of Directors of the Las Vegas Downtown Progress Association, is past president of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada and the Nevada Resort Association and is President Emeritus of the National Council on Responsible Gaming. Bill also served on the Board of Directors of Nevada State Bank for 20 years and founded the Bank of Nevada. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bank of Nevada parent company Western Alliance Bancorporation.
Bill Boyd, Boyd Gaming and the Boyd Foundation have been major donors to numerous non-profit organizations across the country. The William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV is named in his honor, in recognition of the $30 million he contributed to the school’s funding.
Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a law degree from the University of Utah. He is also a veteran of the United States Army, serving from 1953 to 1955.
(1929 – 2009)
Founder, Isle of Capri Casinos
Following a successful 40-year career in scrap metal recycling, river freight transportation and affiliated businesses as leader of the Alter Companies, Bernard Goldstein tested retirement and his golf game in Florida before using his entrepreneurial spirit to start a second career.
Often referred to in the gaming industry as the Father of Riverboat Gaming, Bernard “Bernie” Goldstein was instrumental in lobbying for the original legislation for riverboat gaming in Iowa. He served as Chairman of the Board for Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. until his death in 2009. The Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. was a leading developer and owner of gaming and entertainment facilities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Florida and international locations in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and a two-thirds ownership interest in casinos in Dudley and Wolverhampton, England.
Prior to founding the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., Bernie Goldstein was Chairman of the Board of the Steamboat Companies which operated the Diamond Lady and Emerald Lady casino riverboats along the Mississippi River beginning in April 1991. He also served as Chairman of the Board and president of Casino Cruises, Inc., which managed the gaming operations of the Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino in Peoria, Illinois through March 1993.
In addition to his interests in the gaming industry, Bernie Goldstein served as Chairman of the Board of Goldstein Group, Inc. until his death in 2009. Affiliated Goldstein Companies included Alter Barge Line, Inc., Alter Trading Corporation, River/Gulf Grain Company and Green Bridge Company. The author of “Navigating the Century,” published by the History Factory (1998), he was a graduate of the University of Illinois and was admitted to the Iowa Bar Association in 1951.
Bernie Goldstein’s community spirit earned him recognition from various organizations. He created the Civilian Search and Rescue Fund and received the Simon Wiesenthal Distinguished Community Award. In 1993, he was selected Outstanding Business Leader by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Florida. In 1995, Passenger Vessel Association presented him the Compass Award and in 1999, he was inducted into the National Rivers Hall of Fame. He was also honored with the 1999 Louisiana Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004 by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law. From 2005-2008, he served on the University of Illinois College of Law’s Board of Visitors. In 2007, the Goldstein Family Foundation honored Bernie by establishing a scholarship fund at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. In March 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). In September 2008, he was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement’s Quad Cities Area Business Hall of Fame in 2009.
Tommy A. Gollott
Senator, Mississippi State Senate, District 50 – Harrison
District 50 Senator Tommy A. Gollott is Chairman of the Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee and. He is a member of the committees on Appropriations; Economic Development; Elections; Highways and Transportation; Local and Private; Rules and Tourism. Senator Gollott is currently the longest serving member of the state Legislature, having first been elected in 1967 to the House of Representatives and taking office in January 1968. He served as a Representative until being elected in 1979 to the Senate and being sworn in as Senator in January 1980. Senator Gollott’s 50-years of service makes him the longest serving legislator. He is the recent former Chairman and Vice Chairman of the powerful, watchdog, Legislative PEER Committee, composed of seven senators appointed by the Lt. Governor and seven representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, whose duties include providing program evaluations, background and special investigations and to conduct economy and efficiency reviews.
Senator Gollott is past owner of a large Moving & Storage company. He has always been a land investor and developer. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the National Society of State Legislators as a life member. His community activities include the Boys & Girls Club, Elks, Fleur De Lis Society, and a board member of the Mississippi Arts Fair for Handicapped and Chesire Home for Handicapped. Senator Gollott was born September 29, 1935 in Biloxi and is married to the former Zelma Jackson. They have three daughters: Tanya Gollott Swoope, Lisa Gollott Lane and Jennifer Gollott Burke, 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Rick Carter & Terry Green
Co-Founders, Island View Casino Resort
Joel “Rick” R. Carter Sr. and Terry Green are principals of Gulfside Casino Partnership, operator of Island View Casino Resort. They are credited as the pioneers of dockside gaming in Mississippi, founders of the Pride of Mississippi, a gaming vessel based in Gulfport in 1988. Carter and Green paved the way for domestic dockside gaming across the state and throughout the country. Their efforts in actively lobbying the Mississippi legislature resulted in the passing of the Cruise Ship Gaming Act. In 1990, Carter and Green’s continued advocacy lead to the passage of the Mississippi Gaming Control Act, legalizing gaming in the state and opening a whole new sector that transformed Mississippi’s tourism and hospitality industry, and, in turn, its economy.
The vessel was reintroduced in 1992 as Copa Casino. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed the Copa Casino, the partners purchased the former Grand Casino Gulfport. The partners were at the forefront of lobbying for Mississippi Bill 45 to allow land-based gaming. By reinvesting their personal capital, on Sept. 16, 2006, they opened the doors to Island View Casino Resort, the first new land-based casino on the Gulf Coast. Once again, their forward-thinking actions ushered in a new area for gaming in Mississippi. In April 2015, Carter and Green opened the Beach Tower, a $58 million expansion. They are building a second casino adjacent to the Beach Tower. The Island View will open its Beach Casino—an entirely smoke-free casino—in June 2018. The partners have created one of the largest revenue-generating casinos on the Gulf Coast.
Carter and Green’s commitment to the community runs deep. Among their efforts, the partners donated $50,000 to Feed My Sheep, a locally based non-profit that provides solutions to those who are suffering food insecurities. In 2015 they made a $2.5 million donation to the City of Gulfport to sponsor an electric light show for the Harbor Lights Winter Festival, which brings back holiday festivity to the community.