The American Gaming Association announced the induction of five into the Gaming Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016. They are gaming technology pioneer John Acres, casino visionary Lyle Berman, landmark architect Don Brinkerhoff, Atlantic City’s first African American casino executive Redenia Gilliam-Mosee and tribal gaming leader Richard A. “Skip” Hayward. The inductees were recognized at ceremony during the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in September.
AGA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman said, “Each inductee shaped today’s gaming industry in a distinct way, 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. We’re proud to recognize their lifelong achievements by inducting them into the Gaming Hall of Fame.”
Acres started his gaming career in 1972 as a slot technician. His significant slot innovations include progressive jackpots, free play, the first electronic loyalty system and bonusing, and system-based rewards. Acres is currently the chief executive officer of Acres 4.0.
Berman co-founded Grand Casinos Inc. in 1990 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, establishing a model for building resorts rather than limiting gaming to riverboats. Named the fastest-growing company in America in 1995 by Fortune Magazine, Grand Casinos under Berman’s leadership grew from a three-person startup to a $1 billion organization with 20,000 employees.
Las Vegas changed forever when Brinkerhoff designed a massive volcano for Steve Wynn that regularly erupts in front of the Mirage. Since then, he has designed numerous iconic Las Vegas Strip landmarks, including Bellagio’s conservatory and the 140-foot mountain in front of the Wynn Resort.
Gilliam-Mosee made history as the first African American, female vice president in the casino industry of Atlantic City. In her executive role, Gilliam-Mosee created the gaming industry’s first diversity program, and served as a role model and mentor to hundreds of women in the gaming industry.
In 1983, Hayward led the effort to gain federal recognition for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, paving the way for Indian gaming—today a $30 billion industry. That federal legislation led to the opening of Foxwoods Resort Casino, one of the most profitable gaming operations in the world. To date, Hayward’s efforts on behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe have generated $4 billion for the state of Connecticut through the first-ever slot revenue sharing agreement.