55°F
weather icon Clear

Faiss recognized as Distinguished Nevadan by university regents

Since 1959, the University Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education has bestowed the Distinguished Nevadan Award to prominent individuals who have made significant achievements contributing to the cultural, scientific or social advancement of the state.

With seemingly increasing frequency, those Nevadans have come from Boulder City.

Resident Robert D. “Bob” Faiss was the latest inductee, receiving the honor during Sunday’s commencement ceremony at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was inducted into what has been called “Nevada’s Hall of Fame” by the magazine “Regents’ Review.”

Faiss commented on his recent honor by giving credit to university Regent Andrea Anderson, who nominated him. “It’s all due to her,” Faiss said . “I can’t take any credit.”

Anderson nominated Faiss for a number of reasons, not least of which is that Faiss is “a world-renowned authority on gaming law, and he’s done so much for gaming law, for the students of Nevada and teaching at the Boyd School of Law,” she said.

Add to his gaming expertise, his work as city editor for the Las Vegas Sun, his position as assistant executive secretary for the Nevada Gaming Commission, his service to Nevada Governor Grant Sawyer (1959-1967) as executive assistant, his work with the U.S. War on Poverty Program, his work in President Lyndon Johnson’s staff in 1968 where, according to Faiss, he “did every kind of special assignment” that came up and numerous other talents, the “Bob Faiss” kindness and unassuming nature, and the Distinguished Nevadan award becomes even “more special and more important,” Anderson said.

“Bob doesn’t talk about himself and just does what needs to be done,” she said

Faiss has come to be the expert in gaming law that he is today because he created it. Yet, it is almost impossible to get the 78-year-old Faiss to use the word “I.” He explains the creation of national and international gaming law this way.

“Most of the things we’ve done over the decades have been for the first time,” Faiss said. “We broke ground in the interpretation of application of statutes and regulations. So there’s no model for most of what we did. There’s no form book for what we did. We made it up. And it became standard in many cases, but we did it for the first time.”

Faiss did admit he types his own materials of legal and special documents with regard to gaming issues.

“Each one is different,” he said, but quickly adds, he does have an assistant who “perfects things” he prepares.

When pressed to discuss the qualities he believes he and those who have come to be called Distinguished Nevadans possess, Faiss said, “I think the quality I share with them is a great love for and pride in Nevada, that we are different to a large extent, and we have the ability to carry our responsibilities and being a leader in various respects. We come from a background of opposition from other states that they didn’t have to overcome. At one time we were a pariah in the eyes of every other state and of the federal government because we had legal gambling.”

Faiss credits the late, former Nevada Governor Grant Sawyer with stopping the “wholesale raid” on “every Nevada casino” under the “guidance” of Attorney General Robert Kennedy by placing one phone call to Sawyer’s “good friend President Kennedy.”

“Today, virtually every other state and most countries are looking to Nevada as supreme in the area (of gaming) and looking to us for guidance and seeking to emulate Nevada’s success and Nevada’s structure,” Faiss said. “So what a turnabout that is from where we started.

“It’s a tribute to all of our regulators and the people of the gaming industry and the governors and the legislature. It’s been kept, alone anywhere in the nation, been kept free of partisan, political influence. Governors have kept their hands off and just gave policy guidance. They never sought favoritism or made decisions based on partisan politics. That’s one of the reasons it’s a premier system.”

Faiss speaks of “gaming regulators,” past and current members of the Nevada Gaming Commission, as “learned, inspired and committed people.” There’s not a word of credit for himself, the architect of today’s system of gaming law.

Despite all his contributions to the growing casino industry, he never expected to be named a Distinguished Nevadan.

“I don’t think I’m worthy of it, but I’m very, very appreciative of it,” he said.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Nevadans award from Boulder City included the late Gene Segerblom, who received the award in 2011, Bruce Woodbury, Sara and the late Ralph Denton, and former Nevada governor the late Mike O’Callaghan.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Judge dismisses ex-employees claims

Several claims made against the city by two of its former employees have been dismissed by a judge in Nevada’s Eighth District Court.

Return to normalcy slows amid COVID

It’s become two steps forward and one step backward with returning to normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Motion to dismiss claims withdrawn

A motion to dismiss several claims in a complaint filed against the city by two of its now former employees has been withdrawn from Nevada’s Eighth District Court.

Questions about pool may head to ballot

Residents could have another chance to weigh in on funding a new or renovated city pool as well as paying another utility fee as several ballot questions are being proposed for the next municipal election.

Council revisits possible land sale

City Council is seeking ideas about how to develop more than 40 acres of land near the Boulder Creek Golf Club.

Lee, Leavitt win re-election

Boulder City residents now know who their next leaders are after the results of the 2020 election were announced Saturday, following days of counting a record number of ballots.

Ringtail surprises resident

Boulder City resident Michael Nix recently encountered an unexpected visitor at his home: a ringtail.

 
Veterans saluted during ceremony

From the balloons flying in front of the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City to the lapel pins on people’s clothing, patriotism was on full display Wednesday, Nov. 11, as residents, staff and special guests celebrated Veterans Day.

Local incumbents in the lead

Election Day has come and gone, with local incumbents appearing to reclaim their seats, but the final results for 2020 have yet to be announced.