He may not be around to contribute to its work, but Shannon Bybee knew that despite his absence the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas would continue to benefit the gaming industry. Of that, he would be very proud.
Shannon Bybee, a major force in the gaming industry throughout his more than 30 years of involvement, died Thursday, Sept. 18 at the age of 65 after a year-long struggle with cancer. At the time of his death, he was on leave from his post as executive director of the Institute, a position he assumed nearly a decade ago.
Upon hearing of Shannon’s passing, GamingToday Publisher Chuck Di Rocco remarked, "Eileen (Di Rocco) and I knew that Shannon was fighting a terrible disease and prayed for his recovery. Unfortunately for his many friends and students, that was not God’s will.
"Shannon was a good friend for the years that we have lived and worked in Las Vegas and we will miss him greatly. Our condolences go out to his family," he said.
Bybee was a native of Tropic, Utah, and a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He worked his way through college while earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. He received a law degree from the University of Utah, College of Law, in 1969 and became a law clerk for Jon Collins, a Nevada Supreme Court justice.
His exposure to gaming began in 1971 when he was appointed to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. After serving three years as a gaming regulator, he joined the Steve Wynn organization, first at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas and later as president and CEO of Wynn’s Golden Nugget Atlantic City. He later was chief executive officer of the Claridge Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City before returning to Las Vegas.
In the early 90’s, he directed the affairs of Alliance Gaming Corp. as its president and chief operating officer before joining the faculty of UNLV in 1994. In addition to his work with the Institute, he taught law classes at the William S. Boyd School of Law.
Anticipating the visit to Las Vegas of the National Gaming Impact Study Commission, Bybee worked with his students in preparing a tourism study of the community for the year 1997. The study involved the economic, fiscal and social impact that gaming activities had on the area. The Commission incorporated the study in preparing its final report.
He is survived by his wife, the former Norma Reid, and daughters Kelli Poll and Erin Belanger, and sons, Sean, Brendan and Reid, as well as 12 grandchildren. He also leaves a sister, Molly Adams, and brothers, Patrick and Evan Bybee.
Funeral services were held Monday at the Monte Cristo Chapel.