LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Reflecting a change from previous years in those who are honored, the host committee of this year’s Hall of Fame Charity Dinner and Induction Ceremony, which is sponsored by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and the World Gaming Congress, has chosen to honor two individuals: a representative of the gaming industry and an entertainer – Chuck Mathewson and Frank Sinatra, respectively – both who are leaders in their respective fields and have been prime contributors to the growth and success of the gaming-entertainment industry.
Chuck Mathewson, chairman & CEO of International Game Technology (IGT), will be acclaimed as the gaming industry’s top leader at the Hall of Fame ceremony this year, an award that in the past has included fellow honorees such as William S. Boyd, Burton M. Cohen, William Harrah, Claudine Williams and Barron Hilton, among others.
“I am glad to be part of the host committee’s choice to honor both of these admirable leaders,” said Arthur Goldberg, executive vice president, Hilton Hotels Corporation and president-Gaming Operations. “Chuck, on a daily basis, demonstrates his distinguished leadership abilities as the head of IGT. His commitment to keeping his company as the leader in its field and in expanding into new international markets further illustrates his proficiency as a leader of the industry. My sincere congratulations goes out to him.”
After being a “substantial” shareholder, Mathewson was named chairman of IGT in 1986 and in 1988 was named chairman & CEO. Mathewson currently serves as chairman of the AGA’s board of directors, serves on the board of trustees for the University of Nevada’s Las Vegas Foundation and the board of directors for FelCor Suite Hotels and Baron Assets Fund.
Frank Sinatra’s contributions to the gaming-entertainment industry will be recognized at the banquet by friend and associate, Burton Cohen. Cohen is a consultant to the hotel and gaming industry and a past Hall of Fame inductee. Reflecting on Sinatra’s contributions and on accepting the first-ever gaming industry Hall of Fame entertainment award on behalf of Sinatra, Cohen said, .”From teen idol to living legend, Frank Sinatra is arguably one of the world’s most recognized entertainers, and I am proud to say that he is also a friend.”
“Frank is truly one of the premier entertainers in the world, and there is no individual more deserving of being the first-ever Hall of Fame entertainer inductee,” said Cohen. “His exceptional talent helped make Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world – his achievements stand in a class of their own.”
The Hall of Fame dinner, which will end the three days of activities at the World Gaming Congress & Expo ‘97, will be held Oct. 16 at New York-New York Hotel & Casino’s Motown Cafe. Rich Little will serve as emcee of the evening and the musical entertainment will be provided by the “Motown Cafe Moments” and segments of New York-New York’s “MADhattan” show. This year’s event, touted as having “a new twist and a reason to shout,” has many new and exciting elements to it, making it unique from years past.
To coincide with the many changes taking place at this year’s Hall of Fame charity event, for the first time proceeds will benefit the National Center for Responsible Gaming and will go towards funding independent research on problem and underage gambling. The Center is a division of the Gaming Entertainment Research and Education Foundation. As in the past, proceeds will also go to Safe Nest, a Las Vegas-based organization that offers shelter to abused women and their children.
“In addition to honoring two deserving individuals, this fun-filled night benefits the gaming-entertainment industry’s most important cause – funding research into problem gambling,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., AGA president & CEO. “We thank you in advance for contributing to such a worthwhile event.”
The “new focus” of this year’s event was prompted by the leadership of the Hall of Fame Host Committee: Don Carano, Eldorado Hotel & Casino; Paul Dworin, International Gaming & Wagering Business; Robert Faiss, Nevada Resort Association; Arthur Goldberg, Hilton Hotels Corporation; General Paul Harvey, Mississippi Gaming Commission; Brian McKay, International Game Technology; Sig Rogich, The Rogich Communications Group; Larry Ruvo, Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada; Kathy Shepard, Hilton Hotels Corporation; Don Snyder, Boyd Gaming Corporation; Claudine Williams, Harrah’s Las Vegas.