ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—A gaming industry executive who presided over the growth of a company from a handful of Nevada casinos to a nationally recognized brand while also providing leadership in responsible gaming as well as an entertainment icon who has sung nearly every form of popular music during his 40-year career in the music industry will be inducted this year into the Gaming Hall of Fame.
Phil Satre, chairman of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., and Tom Jones, one of the most popular and enduring vocalists to emerge from the British invasion in the 1960s, will be honored for their achievements July 26 at the 15th annual Gaming Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Full-length performances by Grammy award-winning band Hootie & The Blowfish and Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond will follow the dinner. The event will be part of the grand opening celebrations at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the first new casino to open in Atlantic City in 13 years.
“We are honoring two individuals who have helped shape gaming-entertainment and make it what it is today,” said AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. “Over the years, both Phil and Tom have been part of a dramatic transformation of this industry. By inducting them into the Hall of Fame, we are recognizing the significant contributions each has made to different sides of our business. This dinner will be a fitting tribute to all they’ve done for this industry.”
Added Boyd Gaming Corporation Chairman and CEO William S. Boyd, co-owner of host property Borgata as well as vice chairman of the AGA and president of the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), the event beneficiary: “We are proud to be hosting this event as part of our grand opening celebrations at Borgata. With the outstanding entertainment planned for this evening, we will not only be setting a standard of excellence for our property, but we also will be raising money to address problem gambling, an issue that’s very important to our industry.” In previous years, the event has raised as much as $200,000 for the NCRG.
Satre joined Harrah’s in 1980 as vice president, general counsel and secretary. He was named president and CEO of the Harrah’s Gaming Group in 1984 and joined the company’s board of directors in 1988. He was named CEO of the company in 1994 and in 1997 was elected chairman of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., a position he continues to hold. Satre also serves as chairman of the AGA and is a director of the NCRG, TABCORP Holdings Limited, JDN Realty Corp., the UNLV Foundation and the UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association Board.
When Satre started with the company, Harrah’s operated just two Nevada casinos, located in Reno and Lake Tahoe. Under his leadership, Harrah’s embarked on an aggressive growth strategy and today operates the nation’s most geographically diverse casino chain, with 26 properties in 13 states. At the same time, his company has set the standard within the industry for internal responsible gaming programs, many of which have been shared with and replicated by other gaming companies. For his trailblazing efforts, Satre in 1990 became the first recipient of the Robert L. Custer Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Tom Jones’ recording career, which has spanned nearly four decades, has included music ranging from pop and rock to rhythm and blues. A native of South Wales, Jones signed his first record contract with Decca Records in 1964. When the song “It’s Not Unusual” became an international hit, he found himself opening for the Rolling Stones and performing with the Spencer Davis Group. A string of gold singles and albums followed, making Tom Jones a global household name. By 1971, Jones had sold more than 30 million records in all genres around the world.
A 1988 collaboration with British avante-garde techno-pop group The Art of Noise resulted in Kiss, a record that put Jones back in the Top 10 charts in Europe and the Top 40 in the United States. He has continued his varied recording career with interesting and surprising collaborations, culminating in the 1999 collection Reload, which sold 5 million copies around the world. Jones’ most recent project was co-written and produced by himself and Wyclef Jean, to be released in the United States later this year. In film, he played himself as a character who saves the world in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, and has been immortalized as a character in The Simpsons. This September, watch for superb performances from Jones in the PBS special series The Blues, executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Today, Jones continues to tour and perform before international audiences, with regular shows in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Approximately 800 people are expected to attend the Gaming Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony, held outside of Las Vegas for the first time in the event’s 15-year history in recognition of the 25th anniversary of gaming in Atlantic City. This milestone will be celebrated during the dinner program with a tribute video supported by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
The dinner will feature a menu designed by Borgata Executive Chef Ron Ross, who is responsible for Borgata’s catering and banquet services as well as five of the property’s 11 restaurants. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Ross worked for the Hilton Hotels Corporation, Caesars Atlantic City and Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., before joining Borgata. He oversees a staff of 35 chefs, 300 line-cooks and 250 stewards.
Induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame is the highest honor accorded by the gaming-entertainment industry. Each year, two or more individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry receive this honor. More than 50 people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame since its inception in 1989.
The American Gaming Association is the national trade association for the commercial casino industry. In addition to representing the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues, the AGA serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.
The National Center for Responsible Gaming is the only national organization devoted exclusively to public education and funding of independent research on pathological gambling. Established in 1996, the NCRG is the leading source of science-based research and information on gambling and health, advancing education, prevention, treatment and public policy. The casino industry and related businesses have committed more than $12 million to this effort through 2007, and, to date, the NCRG has issued more than $7 million in grants to support ground-breaking research on gambling disorders. In 2000, the NCRG provided the funding to establish the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders at Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addictions.