Gaming Hall of Fame: Mallin’s induction honors ‘the last of the great Las Vegas pioneers’ Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 11, 2019 at 6:00 am In many ways, Stanley Mallin will always be connected to his friend and business partner, Las Vegas casino personality Jay Sarno. Mallin, who met Sarno when both were students at the University of Missouri in the 1940s, was quiet and caring. Sarno was loud, bombastic, a gambler, and, oftentimes, not well-liked. Together, Mallin and Sarno launched the trend of themed casinos, beginning with Caesars Palace, a Roman-inspired casino, which opened in 1966. Two years later, they introduced the concept of a family-friendly Las Vegas with Circus Circus. Stanley Maillin (r) and Jay Sarno (in top hat) at the opening of Circus Circus in 1968/UNLV archives While Sarno was the face of Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, Mallin was the quiet behind-the-scenes operator who managed in the properties in 1960s and 1970s. In Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas, author David G. Schwartz recounted how Sarno, during a challenging period for the pair, lamented that “I have a very raucous personality. I’m not like Mallin, who’s a quiet gentleman and everybody likes him, and rightfully so.” Sarno was part of the Gaming Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1989. Thirty years later, it’s finally Mallin’s turn to be enshrined. Oliver Lovat, CEO of gaming industry advisor Denstone, said the lack of inclusion of Mallin in the Gaming Hall of Fame was an “oversight,” calling him “the last of the great Las Vegas pioneers.” Mallin, who is 96, still exudes a humble and quiet personality. He said he “truly appreciates the honor,” which will take place Tuesday in Las Vegas during an invitation-only reception at the Global Gaming Expo. There are two testaments to Mallin’s relationship with the Las Vegas casino industry and the community he has called home for nearly 60 years. On the Strip, Stan Mallin Drive runs parallel to Jay Sarno Way, with both connecting from Frank Sinatra Drive into the back end of Caesars Palace. “It’s not that big of a street,” Mallin said with a chuckle. “That’s okay. I’m a little modest. That’s my nature.” His philanthropic efforts throughout the community have been noted in many ways, including The Sandra & Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center, the preschool at Temple Beth Shalom in Las Vegas. Mallin retired from the gaming industry after the sale of Circus Circus to focus on other business interests. He’s proud of his role of building and operating Caesars Palace, which he calls one of the “most famous hotels” in the world. “If you go anywhere, England and through Europe, everyone knows the name Caesars Palace,” he said. Mallin is a World War II veteran. Following the war, he and Sarno worked together as tile contractors in Miami and house builders in Atlanta. They opened the Atlanta Cabana Hotel in 1958 with financial help from investors, including Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa and his confidant Allen Dorfman, a consultant to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Central States Pension Fund. The Teamsters fund financed the construction of Caesars Palace. In the early 1960s, he and Sarno first visited Las Vegas on a junket. He recalled the Strip as having just motels, nothing that would resemble the high-rises found in Miami and Atlanta. “There really wasn’t anything nice,” Mallin said. In 1969 they sold Caesars to Lum’s, a Florida-based restaurant company that subsequently renamed itself Caesars World. Caesars Palace cost $24 million to build and was sold for $60 million. “We started with 600 rooms and it just grew from there,” Mallin recalled. He said it’s been “a few years” since he visited the property. In 1974 Circus Circus was leased, then eventually sold, to William Bennett and William Pennington. Along the way, Mallin met many of the gaming industry’s pioneers, including the late billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who leased he and Sarno a piece of land that was part of the Caesars Palace site. “He was a really nice guy,” Mallin said. He also met many of the shady characters that made up Las Vegas scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Mallin credited Howard Hughes with running the mob out of town by buying up casinos on the Strip. “Hughes cleaned things up,” Mallin said, admitting he never met Hughes. “I don’t think anyone did.” (Last of three articles about the 2019 Gaming Hall of Fame inductees) (Disclosure: CDC Gaming Reports Executive Editor Howard Stutz was a member of the Gaming Hall of Fame selection committee.) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.