Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Robert E. "Bob" Stupak, Vegas icon passes away

Robert E. "Bob" Stupak (April 6, 1942 – September 25, 2009) was a Las Vegas casino owner and entrepreneur.


Bob Stupak was the son of Chester and Florence Stupak. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Once the younger Stupak reached legal age, he moved to Las Vegas and started a coupon book venture. He sold books full of two-for-ones and other items. Stupak later moved to Australia to pursue a similar business venture, only to be asked to leave the country for questionable business practices.

While in Australia, Stupak was briefly married to Annette Suna, and they had a daughter, Nicole. From 1971 to 1985, Stupak was married to Sandra Joyce Wilkinson, and had two more children, Nevada and Summer.

Stupak moved to Las Vegas in 1971, eventually raising enough money to acquire a small, 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) parcel north of Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard South. On March 31, 1974, Bob Stupak's World Famous Historic Gambling Museum opened for business. "The name was about 10 ft (3.0 m) longer than the casino," Stupak recalled years later. On May 21, an air conditioner caught fire and the building burned down.

In 1979 Stupak opened Vegas World, a casino known for its promotions and new twists on games. At its peak in the mid 1980's, Vegas World grossed $100 million per year.
In 1989, Stupak won a widely publicized million dollar wager on Super Bowl XXIII. Later that year, he won the Deuce to Seven Lowball championship bracelet at the World Series of Poker.

In 1995 Stupak suffered a motorcycle accident, breaking every bone in his face and going into a coma. Although the initial prognosis was that he would not survive, Stupak made a full recovery.

At the time of his motorcycle crash, Stupak was at work developing The Stratosphere, a massive observation tower that would be the largest sign in Las Vegas. The tower opened in late April 1996 at a cost of $550 million but was a financial disaster.

Many came to see the tower, but few stopped long enough to gamble, dine or shop. The Stratosphere went bankrupt soon thereafter, was sold, and is now profitable.

Stupak continued to plan Vegas projects, including a purchase of the Moulin Rouge Hotel and a huge hotel shaped like the RMS Titanic, but these endeavors never bore fruit.

Stupak appeared in the first season of the GSN series High Stakes Poker. He also appeared at a final table during the first season of the World Poker Tour.

As of 2008, his total live tournament winnings exceeded $865,000.

Stupak died of leukemia in 2009.

Campaign for Lieutenant Governor

On May 1, 2006, Stupak filed to run as a Democrat for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. (Credit: Wikipedia)

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