Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports.
The 2018 Gaming Hall of Class of 2018 uniformly thanked the thousands of employees and co-workers they had engaged in their long industry tenure during Wednesday night’s induction ceremony at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
The ceremony – which followed the day-long activities at the Global Gaming Expo – saw Peter Carlino, current CEO of Gaming and Leisure Properties; former Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill; former Nevada gaming regulator Philip Hannifin; and former New Jersey state legislator Steven Perskie become the Hall’s newest members.
Gaming Hall of Fame awards.
The Gaming Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the American Gaming Association, was formed in 1989 to recognize industry leaders who have made significant contributions to gaming.
Each Hall of Fame member was given a video tribute and presented by Penn National Entertainment CEO Tim Wilmott, the AGA’s chairman and Sara Slane, the AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs.
“Ours is a very exciting industry,” said Carlino. “And a company is not just the bricks and mortar, but it’s also the people.”
Carlino took over Penn National Gaming from his father in 1994. Under his leadership, the business grew from a small public company with a single Pennsylvania racetrack to the largest regional casino and racetrack operator in the U.S.
In 2013, Carlino left Penn National to become CEO of GLPI, which was the gaming industry’s first real estate investment trust and a model for future gaming REITs. GLPI began as a spin-off from Penn, and Carlino has overseen the company’s growth to 4,400 acres of land holdings and approximately 15 million square feet of building space. GLPI owns the real estate and buildings associated with 38 casino facilities in the U.S. that are leased to Penn, Pinnacle Entertainment, and the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Haddrill encouraged the gaming industry to continue to pursue innovation, but to also continue to motivate good people.
He is considered a pioneer and innovator in the gaming equipment supplier sector, having overseen countless technological advancements for casino operators and players. Haddrill served as CEO of Powerhouse Technologies, Manhattan Associates, and Bally Technologies. He is currently executive vice chairman of Scientific Games Corp., which acquired Bally in 2014. Haddrill is also a past chairman of the AGA.
As a philanthropist, his Richard M. Haddrill Charitable Gift Fund contributed more than $500,000 to Las Vegas causes last year. He is also the founder and CEO of The Groop, a private investment firm that partners with for-profit businesses which have a social benefit.
In a video tribute to Hannifin, longtime Nevada gaming industry figure Patty Becker likened Hannifin to Mark Twain. Longtime gaming executive Phil Satre, himself a member of the Hall of Fame, said the group was “raised a little in stature” by Hannifin’s entrance.
“I’m truly grateful for this honor,” Hannifin said.
Hannifin was just 36 when Gov. Mike O’Callaghan appointed him as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. He served for three terms from 1971 to 1977, playing a key role in driving organized crime out of the gaming industry while bringing corporate investment into Nevada. He oversaw the licensing of Howard Hughes’ Summa Corp., which helped Las Vegas open the door to Wall Street support of casino development.
Hannifin also served as a key executive for Summa, Harrah’s Casinos, the original MGM Grand and the Riviera. His efforts with those companies were considered critical to the development along the Las Vegas Strip. He eventually joined Reno-based Fitzgerald’s Corp. as a board member and helped move the company from a single casino to operations in seven states.
Perskie, thanked his wife of 50 years, Barbara, for being there during all his efforts.
Perskie was a young New Jersey legislator representing Atlantic City when he led the efforts to legalize casinos on the Boardwalk in the late 1970s, marking gaming’s first U.S. expansion outside Nevada. He went on to draft and sponsor the New Jersey Casino Control Act, which helped pave the path for further casino expansion in the U.S.
“What we did in New Jersey paved the way for industry,” Perskie said.
Following his political career, Perskie served as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge and was appointed chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission from 1990 to 1994, where he spearheaded a comprehensive restructuring of the agency. He later served as the vice president and general counsel of Players International, which operated casinos in Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada and Missouri.