One of the most respected members of the gaming industry passed away on April 30 when John Romero died at the age of 85. Romero was renowned for his expertise at casino marketing. He was the inventor of several gaming industry institutions, including table game tournaments, money drops and golf promotions.
Romero was a graduate of San Jose State with a degree in journalism. His first job was with the Las Vegas Review Journal as a sports editor. For 10 years, he covered all the sports, wrote a column and later became a boxing judge in Nevada. During that time, he served in the Navy in the Korean War.
In 1960, he became marketing director at Del Webb’s Sahara and stayed in that job for 20 years. He introduced the “Super Sahara Celebration” with its $100,000 Shower of Money, the first time something like that had ever been attempted. In 1979 he became co-founder and principal owner of International Gaming Promotions Inc., and in conjunction with Players Club, attracted thousands of gamblers to the Sahara. The concept spread quickly and soon many casinos were offering tournaments.
In 1980, he left the Sahara and founded his own company, implementing marketing programs for dozens of casinos, including Harrah’s, the Flamingo, Caesars and Resorts International in Atlantic City.
His first book, Casino Marketing, was published in 1984, and he followed up with Secrets of Casino Marketing in 1998. In his later years, he authored a book about Las Vegas and completed his first novel in 2013, The Eisenhower Enigma.