The Wheel for October 22, 2020
Listen to Diana Bennett – Future of Gaming in NV & The World
Diana Bennett – Future of Gaming in NV & The World
A second-generation casino operator, renowned philanthropist, and one of the most effective and respected executives in the gaming industry, Diana Bennett serves as Chairman of the Board and is the co-founder of Paragon Gaming, a developer and operator of gaming-based properties. Under the leadership of Ms. Bennett and co-founder Scott Menke, Paragon has grown its reputation and footprint with the successful management of properties in North America and the development of its premier international destination, Parq Vancouver.
A native of Phoenix, Arizona who grew up in northern and southern Nevada, Ms. Bennett attended college at Arizona State University before beginning her hospitality career in Las Vegas, where she rose quickly from an entry-level to a management position at Flamingo Las Vegas. Ms. Bennett later joined her father, industry icon William Bennett, at Circus Circus Las Vegas, and, as an executive of Circus Circus Enterprises’ leadership team, she led the development and operation of several landmark gaming properties, including Luxor Las Vegas and Excalibur Hotel and Casino. She also led the merger of the executive staffs of the Edgewater Hotel-Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, and the Colorado Belle Hotel-Casino; and directed the purchase, takeover, and integration of new management into one of the timeless icons of the Las Vegas Strip, the Sahara Hotel and Casino, acquired by the Bennett family’s Gordon Gaming division in 1995.
Throughout her career Ms. Bennett has been responsible for management of multiple casino operations and has been licensed in multiple jurisdictions. Recognized as an expert in establishing gaming systems, she served as President and Chief Operating Offi ce of Casino Data Systems (CDS), where she planned, grew and managed one of the major gaming manufacturers in North America.
Following the formation of Paragon Gaming in 2000 and the acquisition of multiple properties in the United States and Canada, Ms. Bennett spearheaded development of the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, and led revitalization efforts at Las Vegas’ Riviera Hotel. The successful turnaround at the legacy resort can be credited to Ms. Bennett’s philosophy of the “circle of service,” which empowers employees to address issues of concern without the burden of bureaucracy, forming a personal connection with the customer and ensuring a positive experience at every level of the organization. Under Ms. Bennett’s stewardship, Paragon expanded further, assuming operations at Westgate Las Vegas and the Hooters Casino-Hotel, acquiring the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe, and developing Parq Vancouver in the heart of that city’s thriving entertainment district.
As President of the Bennett Family Foundation, Ms. Bennett has become one of Southern Nevada’s most recognized philanthropists, inspiring employees and leading charitable efforts from Paragon’s gaming properties and the foundation to support youth and women’s organizations, educational and health initiatives, and the arts; including Three Square Food Bank, Noah’s Animal House at the Shade Tree Women’s Shelter, Communities in Schools of Nevada, Child Focus, and The Children’s Heart Foundation. She is the Vice Chair for the UNLV Foundation and has a fellowship in her name at the University, and sits on the board of Noah’s Animal House. Ms. Bennett has also served as chair of the National Children’s Miracle Network Telethon for the University Medical Center Foundation, has served on the board of the I Have a Dream Foundation, was a founding board member of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Bennett has also been recognized as one of the Outstanding Women of Nevada since 1994, and in 2007 was named as one of the Top Ten Great Women of Gaming in the United States. In 2011, Ms. Bennett received the industry’s highest honor with her induction into the American Gaming Association Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was honored by Ellis Island for their medal of honor.
Message From The President
I am beyond thrilled to see that we have so many fantastic programs and events going on right now that there is no room left in this week’s Wheel for a full page message from the President. We say that we are the greatest Rotary Club in the World, but as this edition of the Wheel demonstrates it is more accurate to say we are the greatest, busiest and most sharply focused on service to others Rotary Club in the world.
Thank you to all of you for all that you are doing!
Las Vegas Rotary Club
Scribe – October 15, 2020
Las Vegas Rotary Club Meeting: October 15, 2020
President Richard Jost called the meeting to order.
- Judith Pinkerton gave the invocation.
- Kirk Holmes played “The US Navy Hymn,” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Our photographer was Tina Bishop.
- The Sergeant at Arms was Mike Mewborn.
- We had 6 guests of Rotarians and 1 visiting Rotarian.
- Jim Hunt announced the donation of our 30th wheelchair. Please continue to get the word out that we have new chairs available for those in need.
- Karen Whisenhunt introduced our global grants scholar from Tel Aviv, Chantay Ben Shimon, who also joined us via Zoom at 10:30pm her time. She gave us a briefing on the start of her coursework.
- Richard Jost announced that we need 4-5 volunteers to help bag the last 100 bags of candy for Bracken.
- Richard Jost reminded everyone to RSVP for in-person meetings as this is still a requirement.
- Janice Lencke announced that we are holding a virtual auction from November 19th – December 3rd. LVRC Foundation sent out an email detailing 75 different auction items. Expect another email with a link to the auction. Pass it on to anyone in the world as international shipping is available. Currently, we have about 12 items secured for the spring fundraiser including art, certificates, jewelry, and sports items.
- Rose Falocco announced that the 25 club continues to sell raffle tickets during the meetings. Please buy your tickets online or in person. Also, we have an active Facebook fundraiser for those who are interested.
- President Richard Jost announced that we are still selling masks. Bob Werner modeled the masks for us, so mask sales are sure to take off.
- Joan Murdock announced her incredibly generous of $2,500 to the LVRCF.
- The Ticket Winner was Arleen Sirois who received a prize of $10, and the Lawry’s Bucks Winner was Krista Nicholas.
Tom Thomas introduced our program speaker: Ryann Juden, City Manager of the City of North Las Vegas. Starting seven years ago the city was reconstructed by Ryann and a City of North Las Vegas team. The focus was to increase revenues for the city by expanding the tax base. Today, if you look at the top 10 businesses ranked by tax sales revenue, 8 of them were not in North Las Vegas 5 years ago.
Richard Jost presented our speaker with a “Share What You Can” award to benefit a veteran in need and then adjourned the meeting.