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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Four tapped for induction to Gaming Hall of Fame

23 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- The casino industry’s first female gaming regulator, a former Las Vegas mayor turned gaming executive, an American Indian gaming pioneer and a late gaming law expert will be inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame in September.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) announced the 2014 inductees Monday.

The class includes Patricia Becker, who served on the Nevada State Gaming Control Board in the 1980s, Caesars Entertainment Corporation Executive Vice President Jan Jones Blackhurst, NIGA - National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, and longtime gaming attorney Bob Faiss.

They will be honored at a ceremony on Sept. 29 as part of the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

“Bob, Jan, Patty and Ernie have moved gaming forward by guiding the industry through a period of incredible growth, by blazing a path for more women to assume leadership positions, and by advocating on behalf of tribal communities across the nation,” American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement.

Becker was appointed the Gaming Control Board in 1983 by Gov. Richard Bryan. She remains the only woman to have ever served on Nevada’s full-time regulatory panel.

After serving as a regulator, Becker, an attorney, held several executive positions with Aladdin Gaming and Harrah’s Entertainment and served on the boards of several gaming and technology companies. She spent two years as the chief of staff to Gov. Bob Miller and five years as executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.

Jones Blackhurst served two terms as the first female mayor of Las Vegas. She joined Caesars (then Harrah’s Entertainment) after leaving office in 1999 and currently oversees the company’s communications, government relations and corporate responsibilities.

During her time at Caesars, Jones Blackhurst has overseen initiatives to enhance diversity and promote environmental stewardship in the company. She serves on the steering committee for the AGA’s Global Gaming Women initiative.

“I’m very honored and proud to be in the company with this group of recipients,” Jones Blackhurst said.

Faiss, who died in June at the age of 79, had a 40-year career could serve as a documentary on the history of Nevada gaming law and the expansion of the casino industry. Faiss was a partner in the statewide law offices of Lionel Sawyer & Collins and served as chairman of the gaming and regulatory law department.

Faiss had a client list that read like a Nevada historical record. Before starting his legal career, Faiss served as assistant executive secretary to the Nevada Gaming Commission, aide to Gov. Grant Sawyer and a White House staff assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Stevens will be the Hall of Fame’s second-ever inductee from Indian gaming in recognition of his efforts as an advocate for tribal casinos. Stevens is currently serving in his seventh two-year term as the National Indian Gaming Association leader. He is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and has been active in Indian gaming issues since 1993.

The induction ceremony will be hosted by MGM Resorts International as part the G2E tradeshow.

More than 80 people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame since its inception in 1989. All proceeds from the event will benefit the National Center for Responsible Gaming.
Four tapped for induction to Gaming Hall of Fame is republished from