Casino exec Dolores Owens
passes away

Nov 18, 2003 7:27 AM

Dolores Owens, one of the gaming industry’s most respected executives has died.

Mrs. Owens was well-known throughout Las Vegas as an executive and casino host with grace and charm.

Most recently she served as executive vice president of Middle East and European marketing for MGM MIRAGE. She was also a longtime casino executive with Caesars Palace.

Mrs. Owens came to Las Vegas from Michigan more than 25 years ago and began her gaming career as a pit clerk at Caesars Palace. Throughout her remarkable career, she became one of the industry’s most prominent hosts working in the Middle East and European marketing divisions.

Said one close friend in the gaming industry, "Dolores didn’t crack the glass ceiling, she took a hammer to it!" In doing so, she paved the way for many women to successfully rise in the gaming industry.

"Dolores Owens was a champ — the Pied Piper of the rich and famous casino high rollers," said GamingToday publisher Chuck Di Rocco. "But for those of us who knew her, she was so much more. She was a warm and giving person, someone everyone wanted to be around. I will miss her dearly."

Mrs. Owens once said the secret to her success was "timing, luck and being the only one in town who always answered my phone 24 hours a day." A paperweight that sat on her desk summed up her philosophy: "Diplomacy””the art of letting you have it my way."

Mrs. Owens quickly rose through the ranks of Caesars casino administration beginning her career as a clerk, becoming a secretary and, after only three years being named as a casino host.

Four years later, she was named vice president of Middle Eastern operations and soon after, in May, 1983, became executive vice president of Middle East and European operations for Caesars World Marketing.

After 22 years with Caesars, Mrs. Owens joined MGM MIRAGE as executive vice president of Middle East and European Marketing, joining forces once again with longtime friend, Terry Lanni””the former President of Caesars World, Inc., and now chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE.

"Dolores was one of the extraordinary people in this industry whose tireless efforts to make others feel welcome and comfortable have built the reputation of our city and our industry around the world," said Lanni. "She will be remembered not only for the heights to which she was able to take her career, but also for the path she created and the role model she became to both women and men seeking a career as gaming professionals.

"The greatest memories any of us will have of Dolores though, will be her exceptional human qualities of love, wit, compassion and dignity for which she will be long remembered," Lanni said.

Prior to joining Caesars and moving to Las Vegas, Mrs. Owens lived in Grosse Pointe, Michigan where for nine years she ran the Couture Salon at Saks 5th Avenue. She had also served as the personal assistant to the CEO of the National Bank of Detroit, a position she held for 10 years.

Mrs. Owens has been a member of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe, Michigan since 1983 where the family still maintains a home.

Mrs. Owens never forgot a friend and her grace and charm touched many lives, from princes to bellmen, heiresses to hotel operators. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 48 years, George R. Owens and her faithful pet poodle, Muffy, in addition to her many friends and colleagues.

Services will be held in Michigan. Visitation is planned for Wednesday, November 19 from 6-9 p.m. at A.H. Peters Funeral Services, 20705 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, (313) 884-5500.

A memorial service will be held in the chapel at A.H. Peters on Thursday, November 20 at 10 a.m. Interment will take place following the ceremony at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Michigan.

Additionally, a celebration memorial is being organized in Las Vegas sometime in early December.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that Dolores’ life be celebrated with donations to the Dolores Owens Scholarship Fund for Women at UNLV. For further information on the Las Vegas memorial or the Scholarship Fund, please contact Teresa Cookson at (702) 693-8805.