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The Gaming Hall of Fame

1995 Inductee

Burton Cohen

Burton Cohen

Industry Leader


Burton Cohen (1923-2014) is a highly visible casino executive who, in a career that spanned four decades, served as the president of some of the Strip's most famous casinos.

Cohen came to Las Vegas in 1966 as a co-owner and general manager of the Frontier casino, which replaced the New Frontier in the following year. After the mercurial billionaire Howard Hughes bought the Frontier, Cohen moved over to the Desert Inn, but left soon after to helped Jay Sarno open Circus Circus.

Sarno wasn't the easiest boss, and Cohen soon left the big top. He also worked at the Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Thunderbird, and Dunes, but he was best known for his work at the Desert Inn, which he called his "first love."

For much of the 1970s Cohen helmed the Desert Inn, and achieved national fame via the television show Vega$, which was filmed at the DI in 1978, with Cohen's support. In the mid-1990s Cohen returned to the DI under new owners Sheraton-ITT and succeeded in reviving the property before its sale to Steve Wynn and eventual closure. Today, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore stand where the Desert Inn once did.

In his later years, Cohen served as a member of the board of MGM Resorts International and remained deeply committed to Las Vegas-area philanthrophy.

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Last modified Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:07 PDT



This page last updated Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:07 PDT .