Atlantic City and the world have lost one of the great ones with the passing of much-loved Resorts CEO Dennis Gomes of Margate and Galloway Twp.
Atlantic City has lost one of its greatest assets.
Dennis Gomes, CEO and co-owner of Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel, died overnight on Thursday, Feb. 23, of unconfirmed causes, according to reports and information released by Resorts spokeswoman Courtney Birmingham.
The Associated Press reports Gomes died at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.
He was 68 years old.
Gomes had been suffering from back pain in recent months, but his death comes as a shock to many.
"My family and I are deeply shocked and saddened by Dennis’ untimely passing," said Morris Bailey, Gomes' Resorts partner. "Dennis was a man of integrity who embraced all who knew him with respect and love. We have not only lost a business partner who was an industry leader and visionary — we have lost a friend and family member. We are committed to continuing Dennis’ vision for Resorts and Atlantic City, and our success will be a tribute to his memory. Our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara, Aaron and the entire Gomes family."
Aside from bringing his vision and long-time gaming experience to Resorts, purchasing it in 2010, Gomes also was responsible for The Quarter at Tropicana, which kicked off (literally) a new era for Atlantic City.
In August 2010, when Gomes purchased Resorts with Bailey, Atlantic City Weekly's Lori Hoffman wrote:
"Well, this week the news cycle got much brighter, topped by the news that Dennis Gomes, a veteran Atlantic City casino executive who was largely responsible for the development of The Quarter at the Tropicana and before that worked diligently for the Trump Taj Mahal, has purchased Resorts.
"Dennis Gomes returning to town in the casino biz is a godsend. If anybody can turn around the town’s struggling first casino, he can. That perception is held across the industry. Gomes has an excellent track record, and that is what the money men and business analysts look for, previous success."
Gomes was a family man, bringing his son Aaron Gomes into the Resorts fold with him, and was also a kickboxing enthusiast who helped make the Tropicana one of the top spots in town for mixed-martial arts events during his tenure there.
Gomes was a true trailblazer in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City. As a gaming investigator he was a legend in the business, with the Martin Scorsese film Casino based on his story involving busting the mob in Vegas.
Among his many successes, he helped bust a robbery suspect in 2011 in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Weekly had the sincere pleasure of working with him over the years.
When Gomes took over "the oldest" Atlantic City casino in 2010, the visionary came up with a plan to re-brand the struggling casino — which was facing hard financial times — in a 1920s theme, in conjunction with the popularity of the HBO show Boardwalk Empire.
Just last summer, during Hurricane Irene, Gomes made sure Resorts employees and guests were safe and evacuated and stayed on property to make sure security and safety was in effect.
Just this past February, Gomes lost his son Douglas Shawn Gomes of Las Vegas, where he was born, and Atlantic City.
Nicholas F. Moles, vice president and general counsel for the casino, said upon learning of Gomes' death:
"Dennis was truly the most giving, gracious and kind-hearted human being. Everyone who knew him loved him. We are all blessed to have worked with him, to call him our friend and to be part of his family. We are devastated by this loss and our prayers are with the Gomes family during this time. We are committed to continuing Dennis’ vision for Resorts."
Daniel Heneghan, spokesman for the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, tells the AP that he knew Gomes for decades.
"Dennis may have gotten his start in the industry in Nevada, but his heart clearly was in Atlantic City," Heneghan said.
"My heart breaks for his family and all the people at Resorts."
Leave your memories of Dennis Gomes below.
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Newly named president and CEO of Resorts Atlantic City, Gary Van Hettinga, makes it clear that Atlantic City's oldest casino is an "asset that has a lot of potential."
Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Indian Tribe casino company, which operates casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, says it's the perfect time for a strategic partnership with Resorts and get back into the Atlantic City market.
“Mr. Gomes once told me, ‘Keep your eyes on the news, and when you see that I’m opening my own hotel I want you to help me open it.'"
During the grand opening of Resorts Casino took place on May 27, Dennis Gomes, Joe Piscopo and Mayor Lorenzo Langford announced that several exciting attractions will be coming to Atlantic City’s newest resort.
“I was captivated by their passion and talent,” Dennis Gomes tells AC Weekly. “Some people have that it quality that puts them in a special category and Will is definitely one of those people. It is an honor to have him playing in my casino.”
Resorts has announced that it will be presenting Moonshine Follies, a show designed to provide hot fun in the wintertime. The show opens in the Superstar Theater on Sunday, Feb. 20 and will run until April 17.
Under new owner Dennis Gomes, Resorts Casino Hotel may have plans to theme its entire operation in a 1920s motif — capitalizing on the Prohibition-era A.C. publicized by HBO’s 'Boardwalk Empire' and it’s own period-appropriate art-deco architecture — but it’s latest promotion definitely screams 21st Century.
Presumably, the casino will skip the violence and racketeering of Boardwalk Empire — which also dives into the early careers of mobsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano — and just go for the ‘20s party atmosphere. But Gomes, in a press release, does say that the casino is responding to the success of the show, which has quickly become a critical darling.
Asking me to name my favorite Atlantic City casino is like asking me to name the best show I’ve ever seen. It can’t be done. Just as every great show has that one certain something that gives it its individuality, each of the city’s 11 casino hotels has a personality that makes it stand on its own, at least for me. For reasons that are as professional as they are sometimes personal, I’ve always maintained that each casino has one quality that sets it apart from the others. Yet none have — and probably never will — achieved “favored” status with me. It’s like me asking you to name your favorite kid. But there is one property that will forever have a very special place in my heart, and...
“I only wore this suit for you guys,” says Gomes, tugging at his collar. “When I’m working, you’ll never catch me in a suit.”
“I believe in [Resorts]. It heralded the beginning of casino gaming in the East and has always had a special place in my heart. It is an exciting place with a lot of history and we are going to bring it back to life with even more energy and vitality than it possessed at its creation in 1978."
So many Atlantic City casino employees are happy to have once worked for Dennis Gomes, the one-time head of the Golden Nugget, Taj Mahal and Tropicana casino hotels here in Atlantic City. Hopefully m...
OVER 70 YEARS AGO, the Tropicana opened in Havana, Cuba and soon became one of the world's sexiest and most magnetic nighttime hotspots. The notorious Tropicana Cabaret, that is. This week, in a historic twist of fate, Old Havana has opened in the Tropicana. That's Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort, where the new dining, entertainment and retail project, The Quarter, promises to recapture the glory and excitement of pre-revolutionary Cuba. From the 1930s until 1959, Havana, Cuba was the place where the jet-setting, who's-who crowd of Hollywood stars, wise guys, high-rollers and well-heeled party seekers would go wild -- losing their inhibitions while spending, drinking, dancing, gambling and romancing until the wee hours of the morning. This was Ernest Hemingway's Cuba. He was known to frequent the bars of Havana, liberally ordering his favorite Cuban drinks, including frozen daiquiris, sour-sweet mojitos laced with mint leaves and his own rum creation, the "Papa Doble." These same drinks will surely be ordered by the dozen in The Quarter. Wide-eyed and drop-jawed visitors will follow their ears through the recreated old-Havana streetscapes as Cuban violinists and bands of musicians playing Spanish melodies serenade one and all. Designed in Cuba's tropical baroque architectural style,...
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