David M. Satz Jr., a longtime U.S. attorney for New Jersey who later became a pioneer in the field of casino gaming law, has died.

A longtime resident of South Orange, Essex County, Satz died of cancer Friday at his home in Verona, just weeks before his 84th birthday. At the time of his death, he was still working a few days each week at the Newark-based law firm of Saiber, Schlesinger, Satz and Goldstein.

Satz graduated from Harvard before earning his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania, then went on to hold high-ranking posts in the New Jersey Attorney General's office. He was named to his federal post in 1961 and held the job for most of the decade.

After leaving that post, Satz helped develop casino gaming laws in New Jersey and in other states and was a longtime official with the International Association of Gaming Attorneys, serving as its president from 1994-96.

"He's certainly somebody who played a role here," said Joseph Fusco, executive vice president of government affairs for Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. "But it wasn't just about that. He was a wonderful guy."

Fusco said Satz was someone who was involved "from the very beginning," even prior to the formation of the state Casino Control Commission.

Satz also served as attorney for Elsinore Shore Associates, the organization that operated the former Atlantis Hotel and Casino that once stood near Boardwalk Hall. Elsinore also co-operated its predescesor, the Playboy Hotel and Casino. The Atlantis was taken over by Trump Entertainment in 1989 and was renamed the Trump Regency.

Satz's son, David J. Satz, is vice president of Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

Fusco said that beyond Satz's professional role in the casino industry, he was a genuinely nice human being.

"That carried him throughout his career," Fusco said. "His loss is a sad one."

Staff writer Ben Leach and The Associated Press contributed to this story.