One of the architects of Atlantic City casinos is being inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame next month.
Steven Perskie, 73, of Margate, has been named part of the American Gaming Association’s class of 2018.
As a young state legislator, Perskie was a primary advocate for legalized gambling in New Jersey. After residents rejected legalized gambling in 1974, he went to work studying regulatory structures all over the world. Perskie spent significant time reworking the regulatory structure so New Jersey’s gaming rules would be second to none. With a focus on saving Atlantic City from a depressed tourism economy, voters approved the referendum in 1976.
Perskie drafted and sponsored the Casino Control Act, which the late Gov. Brendan T. Byrne signed on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on June 2, 1977.
“I’ve done a lot of things over a lot of time and I’m proud of many of them,” said Perskie. “This one was the most comprehensive, the most detailed, the most difficult of any effort in which I was ever engaged.”
Perskie represented Atlantic City as a Democrat in both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly. He also served as chairman of the Casino Control Commission between 1990 and 1994.
An induction ceremony will take place in Las Vegas on Oct. 10 during the annual Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo Convention Center. Perskie will be inducted along with three others: Peter Carlino, CEO of Gaming and Leisure Properties; Richard Haddrill, former CEO of Bally Technologies; and, Philip Hannifin, former Nevada gaming regulator.
“From expanding the presence of gaming across the county to maintaining the integrity of the industry, each honoree of the Class of 2018 has played an important role in advancing the casino gaming industry,” said American Gaming Association interim CEO Stacy Papadopoulos via a prepared statement.
Steve Norton, co-founder of the American Gaming Association and the Casino Association of New Jersey, said Perskie was critical to the success of Atlantic City’s gaming industry.
“Atlantic City, and the industry, has a great deal to be thankful of for his involvement and his insistence on pushing (the Casino Control Act) through,” Norton said.
When the city’s first gaming hall, Resorts Casino Hotel, celebrated 40 years on the Boardwalk in May, Perskie was among those who were recognized for playing a significant role in shaping the industry.
“As the ‘architect’ of the Casino Control Act, Steven Perskie is most deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts. “Casino gaming outside of Nevada would simply not exist without Steve’s advocacy for gaming in Atlantic City.”
Perskie also served as an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge and as chief of staff for former Gov. James Florio. He graduated from Atlantic City High School before earning degrees from Yale University, University of Penn Law School and New York University.
“Steve Perskie made clear early in his career that gaming could be regulated effectively and be operated by people of good character, honesty and integrity,” said Lloyd D. Levenson, CEO and chairman of the casino-law department at the Cooper Levenson law firm in Atlantic City. “That was not always a uniformly held belief, but every day of every year, the people who work in this industry prove that he was right.”
After resigning from the Casino Control Commission, Perskie served as vice president and general counsel of Players International, which operates casinos in Illinois, Missouri and Nevada.
In 2001, Perskie was reappointed to the bench and confirmed for permanent tenure in 2008. Perskie reentered private practice in 2010 when he joined the Linwood-based law firm of Perskie, Mairone, Brog & Baylinson.
The Gaming Hall of Fame was founded in 1989. Other notable inductees include President Donald Trump, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Celine Dion, Steve Wynn and Don King.