Suddenly, the casino industry had one less visionary. Suddenly, another loss in the world.
Felix Rappaport, the president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, passed away unexpectedly, according to the casino. Those who don’t follow the casino world living in New England probably didn’t realize what a legend from the Las Vegas we had.
As reported by Brian Hallenbeck of the Day “Mashantucket Pequot tribal police determined the death was not suspicious, said Lori Potter, a spokeswoman for the tribe, which owns the casino.”
“On behalf of the entire Tribal Council, Foxwoods management team and staff, we extend our deepest sympathies to Felix’s family,” Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket chairman, said in a statement. “With his passing, we have suffered a major loss. Felix’s passion for modernizing and growing Foxwoods, as well as his friendship, mentorship and humor touched everyone who worked with him. We are confident that Felix’s legacy will live on as we continue to push forward on the vision he set.”
Rappaport’s death stunned people throughout the industry. Long recognized as an innovator, Rappaport sought to diversify Foxwoods’ offerings in a bid to lessen its dependence on gaming revenues. He introduced Las Vegas-style entertainment to Foxwoods’ mix, and oversaw the opening of the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods and, more recently, such attractions as “thrill” rides and a zip line.
“It’s totally shocking,” said Mitchell Etess, a senior adviser to the Mohegan Tribe, which owns Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods’ chief rival. “I’ve been working with him very closely on the East Windsor project and had gotten to know him. He was a really great and unique person — and personality. Obviously, he had been doing a wonderful job at Foxwoods.”
To give you another look at how highly Mr. Rappaport was considered, here is a link from the Las Vegas Sun from 2014.
Felix, you will be missed. Thank you for all you brought to the New England Casino Landscape. May you rest in peace.