Gaming Pioneer Steve Norton Recognized at ECGC

Steve Norton, who almost single-handedly brought legal casino gambling to New Jersey, died in November 2023. Norton was largely responsible for the successful gaming referendum that brought wagering to Atlantic City.

Norton was an executive with Resorts International, which opened the first Atlantic City casino and also owned the Paradise Island property in the Bahamas. His positive outlook and understated economic impact on the Boardwalk community were the main drivers in the legalization of gambling in New Jersey.

He later repeated this success in many jurisdictions such as Louisiana; Illinois; Indiana; Sentosa Island, Singapore; Incheon, South Korea; Puerto Rico and more to establish or promote their gaming opportunities. He also served as a senior executive in Argosy, transforming that small company into a regional powerhouse. Norton was one of the last presidents of the Sands in Las Vegas before it was imploded, and established the highly successful Expo Center there.

Norton also recognized that the industry needed to elevate its negative image at the time and was a founding director of the Casino Association of New Jersey and the American Gaming Association. He was also an early advocate of responsible gaming and helped create the first programs that embraced education, recognition and treatment of the disease of problem gambling.

Norton is survived by his wife Ingrid, six children, including Cordish Gaming President Rob Norton, 17 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was 89.

At last week’s East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, the organizers paid tribute to Norton in the town he loved and where he launched his gaming career. They recorded this video that included just a few of the thousands of lives he touched in his long career.

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