Dennis Gomes passed away last Thursday. He was a hard-hitting prosecutor who cracked down on mobsters in the days they dominated the Strip. In one case, he tracked down mobsters who had embezzled over $20 million from the Stardust Casino, and Martin Scorcese even based a character on him in the film Casino. Gomes later ran 14 casinos – including the Hilton Hotels, the Tropicana, and the Golden Nugget – and came up with wild schemes to get customers through the doors: including a chicken playing tic-tac-toe.
So what did Dennis Gomes mean to Las Vegas? And how did he change the face of gaming? A former employee and gaming expert reflects on his life.
David G. Schwartz, Dir, Center for Gaming Research, UNLV