Gaming pioneer Nelson, philanthropist Davis, die

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Warren Nelson, 91, one of the
last of Nevada’s gaming pioneers, died Thursday at his home in Reno. He was
inducted into the Gambling Hall of Fame in 1989.

A Montana native, Nelson was
attracted to Nevada in 1936 by the state’s developing gaming industry. He
began as a keno operator at the old Palace Club before putting his career on
hold while he joined the Marines in 1942.

Following World War II, Nelson,
and his bride, the former Pat Futter, returned to Reno where he joined another
gaming innovator, Bill Harrah, to open a casino on North Virginia Street. He
held several positions before joining the late Leon Nightingale and a group of
investors in the purchase of the Club Cal Neva.

Nelson was an original member of
the board of directors of International Game Technology (IGT) and remained in
that position as the company grew to become the nation’s largest and most
successful manufacturer of gaming machines. He also served on the state Board of
Regents and for five years he was president of the Nevada Gaming Industry
Association.

Throughout his career, Nelson was
well known for his philanthropic efforts toward the University of Nevada, Reno,
and Carroll College in Helena, Mont., whose football stadium bears his name. He
also served as a trustee on the board of the National Jewish Center for
Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colo.

In addition to his wife, he is
survived by a daughter Gail of Reno; a son, Greg, of Taos, N.M., and three
granddaughters.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Marvin Davis

Marvin Davis, 79, a billionaire
whose financial empire began with his explorations for oil and gas and continued
with movie and real estate purchases in California, died Saturday at his Beverly
Hills home.

Although Davis became better
known for his entertainment activities in Hollywood, he dabbled in the gaming
industry as well, especially in the Midwest. Through Las Vegas gaming attorney
Frank Schreck, he was granted a minor gaming license for Nevada and periodically
had his name associated with potential Nevada gaming developments. None ever
materialized.

A founder, along with his father,
of Davis Oil Co., he spent several years “oil wildcatting” in the
Rocky Mountains, eventually accumulating a large fortune. He relocated his
family to California in 1980 and developed a reputation as a shrewd dealmaker,
having purchased such properties as the Pebble Beach golf course and the Beverly
Hills Hotel.

He is survived by his wife of 53
years and five children. Private funeral services are scheduled.

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