A fixture of Las Vegas gaming for four decades, Foxwoods Casino Resort CEO Felix Rappaport died unexpectedly last month at Foxwoods in Connecticut. He was 65.
His body was discovered in the suite at Foxwoods where he lived part of the time. He also had a home in Las Vegas.
No cause of death had been determined as of press time, although no foul play is expected in the death of Rappaport, whose career spanned MGM Resorts International, where he was an executive at eight properties, culminating in becoming Foxwoods’ chief executive officer in 2014, in charge of one of the world’s largest casino and resort properties.
He began his career in the hospitality industry at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City in 1980. Before entering the gaming industry, Rappaport had worked as a hotel manager in Philadelphia of the Radisson Suite Hotel and with Hershey Entertainment and Resort Co. The sheer scale in the change of venue was remarkable: in Philadelphia he ran hotels that had 500 rooms. At the Mirage, at that time the largest hotel-casino on the Strip, he ran a hotel with 3,000 rooms.
In 2014 at Foxwoods, Rappaport had been senior vice president and chief operating officer when he was appointed to succeed Scott Butera, who left to become commissioner of the Arena Football League.
At Foxwoods, Rappaport had employed a strategy of diversification by adding many non-gaming attractions and amenities to the resort to make it more competitive in an era of increasing competitiveness in the industry, a trend that has been felt particularly at the Indian casinos of Connecticut.
Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, issued this statement: “On behalf of the entire tribal council, Foxwoods’ management team and staff, we extend our deepest sympathy to Felix’s family.”
“We are saddened by the news of the passing of our former colleague and friend, Felix Rappaport,” said MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren in a statement. “Felix was a member of the MGM Resorts family for more than two decades, and is remembered fondly by many. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”