The voice has been quieted: Las Vegas gaming attorney and lobbyist Sean Higgins dies at 56 Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · September 25, 2020 at 7:22 am What everyone immediately recalled about longtime gaming attorney and lobbyist Sean Higgins was his voice. It was distinctive. “I’ll always remember Sean riding his motorcycle while smoking a cigar and directing traffic on our street after his house gatherings with his unmistakable voice and laugh,” said Nevada lobbyist John Leleu, who lived across the street from Higgins for 15 years. “Being in the same line of work, I had the privilege of knowing Sean both personally and professionally, and honestly, he was the same guy,” LeLeu said. “Sean pulled no punches, and what you saw was what you got.” Higgins, the executive vice president of government affairs for Golden Entertainment, died Wednesday at age 56 of cancer. He was fondly remembered by gaming and political leaders as a lifelong Nevadan who championed the causes of his clients. Longtime Nevada lobbyist Mike Sullivan, who was Higgins’ roommate for three Nevada legislative sessions in Carson City, said the Higgins’ voice was unmistakable. Sean Higgins “Sean used to be fond of saying that his Dad told him about his volume-10 voice, ‘God didn’t give you brakes, so he gave you a loud horn!’” Sullivan said, recalling his friend as a “relentless” advocate. During the 2011 debate that led to the repeal of Nevada’s smoking ban in bars and taverns, Sullivan recalled that Higgins wouldn’t leave the legislative building until late at night. “There was always someone else he had to talk to, another vote he had to convince,” Sullivan said. Born and raised in Las Vegas, he left only to attend college and law school. Upon his return, he embarked on a legal practice that included both gaming work and client representation in front of various government bodies on both the state and local level. Higgins’ passing was noted at the outset of the Nevada Gaming Commission hearing by Chairman John Moran, Jr., who said “we lost a very good friend” who represented clients in front of the state gaming regulators throughout his career. “It’s with a heavy heart I make these comments,” Moran said. “Sean was a wonderful human being and will be sorely missed.” Higgins worked in-house for Golden Entertainment over the last four years. The casino company and slot machine route operator had been one of his clients when he was in private practice. Golden Entertainment Chairman and CEO Blake Sartini, Sr., said there was “deep sadness” within the company. “Sean worked with Golden Entertainment for over a decade and had an enormous impact on the success of our company,” Sartini said. “His love for life, gregarious personality, and genuine friendship will be greatly missed by all who knew him.” Added Sartini, “On behalf of Golden Entertainment’s team members and our board of directors, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Higgins family.” He is survived by his wife, Lynn, his daughter, Samantha, 27, and his son Connor, 24. Services are pending. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak noted on Twitter that he was saddened to hear of Higgins’ passing, whom he called a friend. “We were able to speak recently and he will certainly be missed throughout Nevada,” Sisolak wrote. “Kathy and I send our love and condolences to the entire Higgins family during these difficult times.” Prior to joining Golden, Higgins served as principal of STH Strategies, a firm he founded in early 2015. From August 2011 to January 2015, he was managing principal of Porter Gordon Silver Communications, a full-service governmental affairs, and business strategy consulting firm. From July 2010 to January 2015, Higgins was a partner in the law firm of Gordon Silver. Prior to that role, he spent 17 years as general counsel and head of governmental affairs for Herbst Gaming, a multi-jurisdictional casino operator. Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said Higgins devoted his “legal acumen” to the gaming industry, in particular as an advocate for small businesses such as taverns and bars. “When anyone found themselves on the opposite side of an issue from Sean, they knew they were facing a fierce opponent, armed with arguments and ready for battle,” Valentine said. “He left an impact on this community and on the industry, and his presence and friendship will be greatly missed.” Valentine added that “Sean was a much-loved and a well-respected gregarious man who loved his family and his work.” Higgins was one of 10 siblings – five brothers and five sisters – in a family whose patriarch was Dr. Gerald Higgins, a prominent orthopedic surgeon who also served as the doctor for the UNLV football team. He graduated from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School before earning an undergraduate degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law in California. With two of his brothers, Higgins founded Three Angry Wives, a popular Irish bar on W. Charleston Boulevard near Las Vegas’ Summerlin community. His sister, Mary Beth Higgins, is CEO of Affinity Gaming. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.