Gomes, who uncovered Stardust skim, to be Gaming Hall of Fame honoree

ATLANTIC CITY - Dennis Gomes, late owner of Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, will be inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame.

The American Gaming Association, the casino industry's main trade organization, announced its selections Tuesday.

Gomes, a veteran casino executive and mob-busting investigator in Las Vegas, died at age 68 in February of complications from kidney dialysis.

"When Dennis Gomes passed earlier this year, the casino industry lost one of its boldest and most creative owners," said Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the association's president. "Dennis' energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and some of his marketing ideas are still being talked about today."

The movie "Casino" was based on a mob-run theft operation that Gomes uncovered while with the Nevada Gaming Commission.

His involvement in the casino industry spanned four decades. He began his gaming career as the youngest-ever chief of the audit division for the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

As a regulator, Gomes uncovered the Stardust skim, one of the largest such casino-thefts in history.

After that, Gomes worked at more than a dozen casinos and resorts across the country, including Indiana Live, in Shelbyville, Ind., the Tropicana both in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, and the Hilton in Las Vegas.

He drew widespread publicity with bizarre marketing stunts including a tic-tac-toe-playing chicken and a commercial featuring a Barack Obama impersonator that attracted the attention of the White House.

Atlantic City is planning to rename North Carolina Avenue as Dennis C. Gomes Avenue next week.

Other inductees include Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil; Julian Serrano, executive chef at multiple Strip restaurants; and William Raggio, a former casino attorney and the longest serving state senator in Nevada history.

The induction ceremony will be held Oct. 23 in Las Vegas. More than 70 people have been inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame since its inception in 1989.