LAS VEGAS – At last night’s 23rd annual Gaming Hall of Fame Charity Dinner and Induction Ceremony, members of the gaming industry gathered to honor Sheldon G. Adelson, Blue Man Group, Charlie Palmer and Dr. William Eadington for their unique achievements and contributions to the gaming industry.
Induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame is the highest honor accorded by the gaming-entertainment industry. Each year, individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry receive this honor. Proceeds from the event benefited the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), the only national organization devoted exclusively to public education about and funding of peer-reviewed research on gambling disorders.
Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a company with world-class gaming properties in Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore and Bethlehem, Pa., is widely credited for helping transform the city of Las Vegas from a gaming-centric regional location into an international business and leisure destination, and laying the groundwork to turn Macau and Singapore into two of the world’s most lucrative gaming markets.
“Our industry was built by iconoclasts – visionary, creative and confident risk-takers who challenged conventional wisdom, people whose strong convictions, self-confidence and ability to bring their dreams to fruition propelled them to the peak of their profession,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp. “Anyone who has had first-hand experience in dealing with him can attest that each of these descriptions applies to Sheldon Adelson.”
In his acceptance remarks, Adelson noted that “we are all so much more than the label ‘gaming industry,’” noting that hotels, shows, spas, restaurants, meeting space and shopping are now integral to the business. He also gave praise to the industry’s most valuable – and often forgotten – asset: industry employees.
“The most important part of who we are as a business is probably the last thing people think of when they think of us: the hard-working, caring people who work hard to provide for their families and keep customers coming back for more.”
Blue Man Group has been a Las Vegas headliner for more than a decade and during that time has become one of the Las Vegas Strip’s most popular acts. The wildly successful show began its Las Vegas run at the Luxor Las Vegas before moving to The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. Starting in the fall of 2012, Blue Man Group will entertain guests at a third Strip property – the Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
“Blue Man Group was born from the collaboration of three friends, Philip Stanton, Chris Wink and Matt Goldman, who were seeking to celebrate the human spirit with their performance,” said Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA). “Today, the result of that effort is truly astounding,”
Stanton noted that performing in Las Vegas has given his group the confidence and opportunity to demonstrate that its performances could resonate worldwide.
“I can’t imagine what Blue Man Group would be without Las Vegas,” he said. “Las Vegas is America, and it’s also the world. You can find the true Everyman here, and that’s who we are trying to reach with our performances.”
Charlie Palmer has received critical acclaim for his signature progressive American cooking, and over the years, has opened 13 notable restaurants across the country – including five associated with gaming properties. Las Vegas visitors can experience Mr. Palmer’s handiwork at Michelin-starred Aureole at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons, Las Vegas; and while in Reno they can visit Charlie Palmer Steak, Fin Fish and Briscola, all in the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.
“He is a straightforward gentleman and understands that the true secret of being a successful restaurateur is having respect for the hospitality necessary to bring customers back,” said Fahrenkopf. “While Charlie has received critical acclaim for his signature progressive cooking, it’s not just about the food with Charlie. It’s about the feeling he gives customers; he is an expert at making his customers feel special and welcomed.”
Palmer talked about being part of the early culinary renaissance in Las Vegas a decade ago.
“To be a part of the growth of entertainment and to help bring the level of food here to where it is now is fantastic,” he said. “Las Vegas is now one of the top three food cities in the U.S. I truly believe that. To be on the forefront of all of this is truly humbling.”
Dr. William Eadington is a professor of economics and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He is an internationally recognized authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gaming and has written extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of the industry.
“We owe Bill much of the credit for our current understanding of the economic and social impacts of commercial gaming,” said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming Corporation and chairman of the AGA. “His deep knowledge of the industry’s economics and his insights on the legalization and regulation of commercial gaming have been invaluable. Indeed, his work has not only served our industry; it also has served the countless communities that have benefited from commercial gaming.”
Dr. Eadington reflected on his career in gaming education and the many colleagues who have contributed to his achievements.
“I’ve been able to collaborate with innovative educators and training programs and observe the entrepreneurs that have transformed the gaming industry and the way the world looks at it,” he said. “This award is an honor and I have high hopes for the future of gaming education.”
Nearly 350 people attended the Gaming Hall of Fame dinner. For more information about the Gaming Hall of Fame inductees, visit www.americangaming.org.