By my count, we’ve lost two pioneers in the gambling industry in less than a week. First we lost a major pioneer for the online gambling industry when Jim Tabilio passed away. Now the land-based casino world has lost one of their longest standing pioneers in Joe Sterns.
Joe Sterns, the founding member of Sterns & Weinroth, and the casino lawyer who helped push New Jersey’s first gambling hall through the licensing process in the 1970s passed away recently from heart disease complications. Sterns was 76.
Joe Sterns was instrumental in helping Resorts International become the first licensed casino to open outside Nevada. During his lifetime, Sterns held several positions with the state and federal governments. He served as Assistant to the Director of the federal Alliance for Progress, and Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Import Export Bank of the United States. In New Jersey, he was Executive Assistant and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Economic Development (the predecessor to the present Department of Environmental Protection) from 1958-1960, and from 1965-1968, he was Deputy and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
But most people will remember Stern as the pioneer that played a major role in pushing casino gambling past the borders of Nevada and his involvement in casino legislation in Atlantic City.