The American Gaming Association (AGA) announced the induction of five honorees into the Gaming Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016. The inductees are: John Acres, a gaming-technology pioneer; Lyle Berman, an instrumental catalyst in the development of casinos, now commonplace in 40 states nationwide; Don Brinkerhoff, the architect who designed many of Las Vegas’ iconic landmarks; Redenia Gilliam-Mosee, the first African-American casino vice president in Atlantic City; and Richard A. “Skip” Hayward, a visionary for Tribal gaming.
The inductees will be honored at an invitation-only ceremony on the evening of Wednesday, September 28 at The Venetian as part of the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E), presented by AGA.
“Each inductee shaped today’s gaming industry in a distinct way, from paving the way for opportunities for employees of all backgrounds, revolutionizing the player experience and pushing the boundaries of what casinos look like and where they exist,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “We’re proud to recognize their lifelong achievements by inducting them into the Gaming Hall of Fame.”
The Gaming Hall of Fame, since its inception in 1989, recognizes leaders with gaming’s highest honor who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry. This year, a diverse, five-person selection committee comprised of industry stakeholders reviewed a number of nominations and chose the most qualified, accomplished professionals in the gaming industry. Induction into the Gaming Hall of Fame is an honor bestowed upon those who have made sizable contributions to gaming.
Below is more information about each of the 2016 inductees:
John Acres, Gaming-Technology Pioneer: Acres began his career in gaming in 1972, where he worked at Mr. Sy’s casino as a slot technician. Throughout his career, he invented key innovations integral to the future of slot machines such as progressive jackpots, the first electronic loyalty system, and bonusing, the idea of providing system-based rewards to deserving players. He also created the concept of free play. Today, Acres is the CEO of Acres 4.0, a company that combines mobile technology with his previous inventions to further enhance the player experience. Click here for a photo for publication.
Lyle Berman, Champion from Both Sides of the Table: Berman has been instrumental in the development of casino gaming outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, now commonplace in 40 states across the nation. In 1990, Berman co-founded Grand Casinos Inc., which set the model for building resorts in the Mississippi Gulf Coast and beyond, rather than confining gaming to boats. Fortune Magazine named Grand Casinos Inc. the fastest growing company in America in 1995, and under Berman’s leadership, the company grew from a three-person startup to an organization employing 20,000 people with a market capitalization of $1 billion. While building one of the most formidable gaming enterprises of its time, Lyle also became a world-class poker player as a three-time champion of the World Series of Poker. Click here for a photo for publication.
Don Brinkerhoff, Artist of the Las Vegas Landmark: Brinkerhoff changed Las Vegas forever when he designed for Steve Wynn a massive volcano to regularly erupt in front of The Mirage. His influence can be found throughout the Las Vegas Strip designing a number of iconic casino landmarks, including Bellagio’s conservatory and the 140-foot mountain in front of The Wynn Resort. Brinkerhoff contributed significantly to the field of landscape architecture by shaping unique environments for more than 15 properties in Las Vegas, as well as an additional 80 casino-resorts across the United States, Asia and Europe. Click here for a photo for publication.
Redenia Gilliam-Mosee, Trailblazer for Diversity in Gaming: Mosee was a trailblazer as Atlantic City’s first African-American, female vice president in the casino industry. In her executive role, Gilliam-Mosee championed the development of the gaming industry’s first diversity program. She served as a role model and mentor to hundreds of women in the gaming industry, including Isle of Capri’s former CEO Virginia McDowell. Click here for a photo for publication.
Richard A. “Skip” Hayward, Visionary for Indian Gaming: Hayward is the visionary behind the development of Indian gaming that has evolved into a $30 billion industry. Hayward led the effort to gain federal recognition for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in 1983, which paved the way for economic development on an Indian reservation. That bill made possible the opening of Foxwoods Resort Casino, which became one of the most profitable gaming operations in the world. To date, Hayward’s effort for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has resulted in $4 billion contributed to the State of Connecticut through a first-of-its-kind slot revenue sharing agreement, which became the model for similar agreements nationwide. Click here for a photo for publication.
Last year, AGA inducted three honorees into the Gaming Hall of Fame: Victor Salerno of William Hill US, Lynn Valbuena of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Navegante Group founder Larry J. Woolf. Click here to see all previous Hall of Fame inductees.