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Arnold M. Knightly

Michael Gaughan draws hall of fame recognition

20 November 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Longtime casino owner Michael Gaughan was inducted into the American Gaming Association Hall Of Fame on Wednesday for his four decades of leadership in the gaming industry.

Gaughan joins his father, El Cortez founder Jackie Gaughan, in the hall. They are the third father-son team to be inducted, joining Sam and Bill Boyd and Benny and Jack Binion.

In a speech that lasted less than 21/2 minutes, Gaughan thanked his family, friends and business partners.

"I'll tell you what my dad always said when they honored him," Gaughan said. "Nice to see you all here and thanks for coming."

Michael Gaughan helped run the El Cortez from 1965-1972, before leaving to open the Royal Inn Casino, which is now the Greek Isles on Convention Center Drive.

He later built and opened the Barbary Coast, Gold Coast, Orleans and Suncoast.

He was an executive with Boyd Gaming Corp. after Boyd acquired his company, but he resigned and bought the South Coast, which he had built, from Boyd in 2006. He renamed the property South Point.

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president and chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association, said Gaughan is one of the most beloved employers in the industry.

"Michael's casinos have helped shape the city, making it what it is today," Fahrenkopf said.

"He created friendly, nurturing working environments. As a result, his casinos have boasted more long-term employees than many in our transient industry," Fahrenkopf added.