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The patriach of the Fertitta family has passed away.
From our pal, Mary Manning, at the Las Vegas Sun:
Frank Fertitta Jr., the patriarch of Station Casinos, died today after heart surgery in a California hospital.
Fertitta, 70, who had been ill for some time, died at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, sources close to the family said.
Fertitta came to Las Vegas from Texas at 21 years old. He started working as a bellman, then a blackjack dealer and worked his way into management.
He believed that Las Vegas needed a casino where locals could visit and where casino workers could come after work.
The Station Casinos empire started in 1976 when Fertitta opened The Casino off the Las Vegas Strip. The name was changed to Bingo Palace and ultimately was renamed Palace Station in 1983.
In the 1990s, Station opened Boulder Station in 1994, then Texas Station in 1995, Barley's in 1996 and Sunset Station in 1997.
Station purchased the King 8 in 1998, renaming it The Wild, Wild West.
Then Station acquired the Santa Fe and Fiesta, which opened in 1995, as well as the Reserve in 1998 in the southeast valley.
Station Casino has grown to 19 properties and has been voted among "the best companies to work for," in Fortune magazine.
His sons, Frank III and Lorenzo, took over the company in 1993.
The Fertitta family has been known for its philanthropy in the Las Vegas community for decades.
Station Casinos founder Frank Fertitta Jr. died this morning in Los Angeles, sources confirmed.
Fertitta, 71, one of the gaming industry’s pioneers who came to Las Vegas in 1960, founded the company’s original Bingo Palace that was transformed into the Palace Station. He also bought the Boulder Highway land that would eventually accommodate Boulder Station.
Fertitta left the company in 1993 when Station Casinos had its initial public offering, turning the business over to his sons. After leaving the company, Fertitta privately financed the building of the Texas Station on Rancho Road in 1994, but sold the property at cost to Station Casinos before its opening in 1995.
Fertitta left the company in 1993 when Station Casinos had its initial public offering, turning the business over to his sons.
After leaving the company, Fertitta privately financed the building of the Texas Station on Rancho Road in 1994, but sold the property at cost to Station Casinos before its opening in 1995.