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Mississippi Gaming Pioneer Schilling Dies

Richard J. Schilling Jr., known as “the father of Mississippi gaming,” died January 27. He was 62.

Schilling started in the restaurant business as a dishwasher at age 13. He went on to own some of the most successful entertainment venues in the country, including the legendary Beverly Hills Supper Club near Cincinnati, and Splash, the first casino in Tunica, Mississippi.

The Beverly Hills Supper Club was one of the first Midwestern clubs to host stars like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. It opened in 1971 and was recognized for years as the “Showplace of the Nation,” with a nightclub that seated 5,500 patrons.

Schilling also opened the first riverboat restaurant, the Islands, in Newport, Kentucky, which became the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States.