Atlantic City honors Dennis Gomes by renaming street

May 21, 2012 10:30 AM

Atlantic City honored Dennis Gomes, the late co-owner of Resorts Casino Hotel, by naming the street in front of the casino in his honor Friday.

At a curbside ceremony, Mayor Lorenzo Langford unveiled a sign renaming a portion of North Carolina Avenue as Dennis C. Gomes Avenue.

Gomes died in February at age 68 of complications from kidney dialysis. He and partner Morris Bailey bought Resorts in 2010 and saved the struggling casino from closing.

The movie “Casino” was based on a mob-run theft operation that Gomes uncovered while working with the Nevada Gaming Commission. As a regulator, Gomes uncovered the Stardust skim, one of the largest such casino thefts in history.

After that, Gomes worked at more than a dozen casinos and resorts across the country, including Indiana Live, in Shelbyville, Ind., the Tropicana both in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and the Hilton in Las Vegas.

But he was perhaps best known for the zany promotions he came up with, including pitting a chicken against casino customers in games of tic-tac-toe and hiring a President Barack Obama look- and sound-alike to tout a casino.

Gomes’ son Aaron, a vice president at Resorts Casino Hotel, said it was always his father’s dream to own a casino, even when he was working in the industry in Las Vegas. It took coming to Atlantic City to make his dream come true.

“This city, after my dad grew up in California and worked in Nevada, this is where he spent the least amount of time living,” Aaron Gomes said. “But this is definitely where his heart was.”

Gomes rebranded resorts in a Roaring ‘20s theme soon after taking over to capitalize on interest in the hit HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” about Prohibition-era Atlantic City.

The ceremony was attended by many Resorts workers who came to honor Gomes.