Bob Stupak, Mr. Las Vegas, dies at 67

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On Friday, Bob Stupak, Las Vegas visionary, promoter, and lifelong gambler, died of leukemia. He was 67.

A native of Pittsburgh, Stupak became a permanent resident of Las Vegas in 1971 and, in 1996, then-mayor Jan Jones gave him the official name "Mr. Las Vegas," evidently ignoring Wayne Newton's claim on the moniker. However, comparisons to Newton aside, "Mr. Las Vegas" wasn't Stupak's only nickname: the self-proclaimed "Polish Maverick" made a living out of capturing the interest (and dollars) of his adopted city's many tourists.
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Recent Deaths in Business
Bob Stupak, at right, known as "Mr. Las Vegas," died at age 67. Click through the gallery for a review of business leaders we've lost in 2009.
John Gurzinski, AP
John Gurzinski, AP


Like his city, Stupak was a gambler, and even his inability to hold on to the Stratosphere didn't keep him from coming back to the table. He contemplated a purchase of the Moulin Rouge casino, and worked on developing a Titanic-themed casino that, unsurprisingly, sunk. Meanwhile, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada and played in numerous high-stakes poker tournaments. He won a World Series of Poker title in 1989, the year after he won a famous $1 million bet on Super Bowl XXIII.

No Las Vegas story would be complete without a brief visit to the shady side of the law. Stupak, for example, was asked to leave Australia for questionable business practices. Yet, even in this, he was very much a part of his city, a rogue who straddled the line between legal and illegal, always pursuing his business with flash, energy, and bottomless self-promotion.

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