In 1992, I got a phone call from Tony Cabot, a gaming attorney in Las Vegas. Tony asked me a question that would change my life. “Would you like to represent Grand Casinos?” he said. I responded “yes”.
For the next sixteen years, until the company was merged with Park Place Entertainment Corporation in 1998, we were Grand Casinos’ Mississippi attorneys. Who in 1992 could have imagined what an amazing ride I was about to take?
Grand’s spiritual and corporate leader was Lyle Berman, a man who grew up in the retail business, was a champion poker player and decided he could take the Mississippi gaming industry to the next level. And, boy did he.
With Lyle’s incredible vision for what Mississippi gaming could be, Grand borrowed $115 million—an unheard of sum at the time—to build Grand Casino Gulfport and Grand Casino Biloxi, the two largest casinos in the State of Mississippi.
A few years later, Grand built Grand Casino Tunica, again changing the landscape of Tunica, Mississippi gaming at the time.
Being a retail man, Lyle understand how to draw and keep customers. From his constant supervision and care with the food offerings in all his casinos to spending $1 million on the ladies bathroom at Grand Casino Biloxi, Lyle knew how to create that “wow factor” to bring folks to his properties. He understood gaming needed to be more than a casino, and his properties included hotels, restaurants, shopping, and theatres—even child care facilities.
He also built a strong management team around him. During that time, Grand’s CEO Tom Brosig, CFO Tim Cope, Vice President Joe Galvin, and a host of property level management personnel created a great Mississippi gaming brand.
Now, the American Gaming Association is recognizing Lyle for his accomplishments. We say to Lyle Berman congratulations for an outstanding career in gaming, and we are proud to have been a part of your team.