Business Hall of Fame Inductee: Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd

Samuel A. Sam Boyd was born April 23, 1910 in Enid, Oklahoma. He married Mary Neumann in 1931 and within a year welcomed their only child, Bill.

Boyd moved his family to Las Vegas in 1941, where he held a series of jobs from dealing penny roulette at the Jackpot club to working as a shift boss at the Flamingo and later at the Sahara. In 1957 the Sahara built the Mint downtown; Sam became a partner by purchasing just over three-percent and becoming general manager of the property.

In 1973, after more than 15 years as a practicing attorney, Bill decided to join his father on a full-time basis in the hotel/gaming business, forming the Boyd Gaming Corporation. The California Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas was opened in January 1975. Sam was a partner with his son, and others, in the Union Plaza Hotel & Casino and the Eldorado Casino (opened in 1962).

The Boyd's string of successes quickly followed. Sam and Bill Boyd wanted a property to bear their family name. Sam's Town, originally built on 13 acres of desert at the then-quiet intersection of Boulder Highway and Nellis Boulevard, was the first such resort to cater to local residents, and the gamble paid off handsomely. Since its opening in 1979, the casino has expanded eight times.

In 1993 Boyd Gaming became a public company traded on the NYSE. The company's $1.3 billion merger with Coast Casinos, Inc. in 2004 created one of the most diversified gaming companies in the business.

The Boyd Family is active in the Las Vegas community, with strong ties to the UNLV. In the mid 1960's, Sam started the Boys Club in Henderson. In 1984, the Boyd's made a $1.5 million contribution for improvement of the Silver Bowl football stadium, which was aptly re-named Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Boyd family also helped the state of Nevada create its first and only law school in 1997, creating the William S. Boyd School of Law. The Boyd's also have shown their loyalty to other events in the Las Vegas Valley including the sponsorship of the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Aviation Nation Air Show at Nellis Air Force Base. Boyd Gaming also owns the Orleans Arena, which is home to the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers and many other local sports events. Sam A.

Boyd passed away on January 15, 1993.