Washington, D.C.—One of the industry’s premier executives and a Las Vegas entertainment legend will be inducted this year into the Gaming Hall of Fame, while a company that is a pioneer in responsible gaming and an individual who brought the casino industry into the mainstream business world will be honored with special achievement awards.
As chairman of MGM Grand, Inc., J. Terrence (Terry) Lanni has guided that company through unprecedented growth during his five-year tenure. Lanni currently is full-time chairman of the board and is overseeing the acquisition of Mirage Resorts Incorporated by MGM Grand Inc. He will be responsible for managing the combined companies after the transaction. Previously, he also served as chief executive officer of the company. Before joining MGM Grand, he was a senior executive at Caesars World, Inc. for 18 years, serving as president and chief operating officer from 1981 to 1995.
In addition to his duties as chairman and chief executive officer of MGM Grand, Lanni served on the National Gambling Impact Study Commission from 1997 to 1999, during which time he was successful in detailing the specific achievements of the commercial casino industry while also distinguishing himself on the panel as a thoughtful voice interested in achieving a balanced report.
No name is more synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment than Wayne Newton , whose singing career began there when he was 15 years old. A native of Roanoke, Va., Newton began performing at age 6. A booking agent discovered Newton during high school while performing on a local television program, which led to a regular show in Las Vegas and national appearances on the Jackie Gleason Show and Lucille Ball Show. Appearing for the first time as a headliner in 1963, Newton cemented his place as ‘Mr. Las Vegas,’ breaking all hotel attendance records at the Flamingo Hilton and has continued to break and set records to this day. By 1994, he had performed 25,000 shows in Las Vegas alone.
Newton recently signed a history-making long-term contract to perform in the newly renamed Wayne Newton Theater at the Stardust Resort and Casino, where he performs seven shows a week, six nights a week, 40 weeks a year before sold-out crowds. In addition to his work as an entertainer, for which he has received numerous honors, Newton is an actor and outspoken gaming advocate who has always been committed to charitable causes. He has recorded 142 albums to date and performed live before more than 30 million people.
The first-ever special achievement award for responsible gaming will be presented to Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. for its leadership in this area. For nearly two decades, Harrah’s has set the standard within the industry for internal responsible gaming programs, many of which have been shared and replicated by other companies industrywide. Two of the most widely known programs conceived by Harrah’s are Project 21®, which educates employees and the public about underage gambling, and Operation Bet Smart®, which promotes public awareness and education about problem gambling. For its achievements, Harrah’s became the first-ever recipient of the National Council on Problem Gambling’s corporate award. The award, given to Harrah’s in 1990, recognized the company’s pro-active efforts to address problem gambling.
Another special achievement award, this one for innovation, will be given posthumously to Del Webb , who left a lasting mark as one of the industry’s first corporate investors. Webb was the general contractor in 1946 for the construction of the Flamingo Hotel, widely considered the first resort hotel in Las Vegas, and completed construction projects at such Las Vegas landmarks as the Sahara, Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Hilton. He also was instrumental in shaping today’s strong regulatory mechanism in Nevada’s gaming industry. Webb was the first to bring nationally known sporting events to Las Vegas, and, as the largest gaming operator and private employer in Nevada in 1972, was the first to use overhead closed-circuit cameras in his casinos.
The Gaming Hall of Fame is the highest honor accorded on behalf of the gaming industry. Each year, two or more individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry receive this honor. This year, a new awards category has been added to recognize special industry achievements in innovation and responsible gaming.
Those selected to enter the Gaming Hall of Fame will be inducted at the 12th Annual Gaming Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 19 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, coinciding with World Gaming Congress. More than 750 people are expected to attend the event. Forty-one people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame since its inception in 1989.
Proceeds from the event benefit the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding independent, peer-reviewed scientific research on
pathological and youth gambling, and Safe Nest, a Las Vegas-based organization that provides temporary assistance and shelter to abused women and their children.
The Gaming Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony is co-sponsored by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and International Gaming and Wagering Business (IGWB). The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The association also serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern. IGWB, part of GEM Communications, Inc., is widely regarded as the premier trade publication covering issues affecting the commercial gaming entertainment industry. IGWB produces the World Gaming Congress & Expo, the official trade show and conference of the AGA, which will be held Oct. 18-20 in Las Vegas.