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Society & Culture

Drexel Dedicates Casino Training Lab to Late Gaming Visionary Dennis Gomes

September 16, 2014

Instructor Bob Ambrose shows hospitality management major Andres Roos a reel strip from one of the slot machines in the Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab.
Instructor Bob Ambrose shows hospitality management major Andres Roos a reel strip from one of the slot machines in the Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab.

The new casino training lab in Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management will be named the Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab after the late gaming visionary, with the support of the Gomes family. A dedication ceremony will take place in the lab, which is located in Drexel’s Paul Peck Problem Solving & Research Building (101 N. 33rd St.), on Monday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m.

The event will be an opportunity to pay respect to the memory of Dennis Gomes and his family, as well as to acknowledge his contribution to the gaming industry along with various executives representing the casino and hospitality industry. A ticketed fundraising dinner will be held later in the evening. For additional information or to register, contact rja73@drexel.edu. 

“There has been a tremendous outpouring of interest from members of the gaming industry about the Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab,” said Robert Ambrose, a former Atlantic City gaming executive and an instructor of hospitality and gaming in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management. “Our goal, with the help of our gaming industry partners, is continue to expand the footprint of the training lab and to fuse theory and practice together for a complete experiential learning experience.” 

Drexel's casino training lab will be named for Dennis Gomes, who was well known in the casino industry.
Drexel's casino training lab will be named for Dennis Gomes, who was well known in the casino industry.

Gomes was well known in the casino industry, holding top executive positions both in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Prior to his gaming career he was a top investigator for the Nevada Gaming Commission; the 1995 movie “Casino” was based on his investigations. He is also the subject of the book Hit Me, written by his daughter Danielle Gomes and Jay Bonansinga.

Gomes was a hands-on gaming executive with a strong commitment to education, serving as a mentor to many people who are now industry executives. The goal of the Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab is for students to be engaged in active learning so that they may emerge as the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry.  

Drexel’s casino training lab was created in April 2014, thanks to a donation of slot machines from Bally Technology, one of the largest gaming technology manufacturers in the world. The lab makes Drexel the first university on the East Coast to provide on-site casino gaming equipment for educational purposes.

“Our vision in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management is to provide an unparalleled, rich student experience to produce the next generation of responsible industry leaders,” said Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, a professor and director of the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management. “The Dennis Gomes Memorial Casino Training Lab, championed by Professor Ambrose, represents a real and lasting expression of that vision. A key element is that it depends on the support of our friends in industry to stay realistic, current and energetic.”

As part of Drexel’s casino management program, the casino training lab offers students a live operational experience of slot machine protocols and mock customer interactions in a real-time learning atmosphere. Going beyond the standard text books and field trips, the slot machines enable students to study the operational elements of electronic gaming equipment.

The machines do not accept currency and are subject to all of the rules and regulations that apply to casinos, including 24-hour surveillance and notification of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Enforcement Agency of every use. When not in use by casino management classes, the machines are locked down.

The casino management program is designed to expose students to the unique operating conditions and management challenges associated with the operation of a casino. Courses include discussions of gaming legislation, electronic boards, slot validations systems, slot communication systems, player tracking, preventative maintenance and general troubleshooting of slot machine problems. Students also gain hands-on experience through cooperative education opportunities at major industry establishments such as Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, among others.

Drexel has offered a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management with a concentration in gaming and casino operations since 2009, as well as an undergraduate certificate in gaming and casino operations.

Media Contact:

Alex McKechnie

news@drexel.edu

215-895-2705