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Longtime casino insider Sean Higgins dies

Updated September 24, 2020 - 1:08 pm

Longtime casino insider Sean Higgins died Wednesday.

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman John Moran Jr. made the announcement during a Thursday meeting, and two commissioners gave tributes. The cause of death was not announced.

Higgins, 56, had worked for a number of Nevada-based gaming companies over the years, including Herbst Gaming — now known as Affinity Gaming — and Golden Entertainment Inc.

In 2016, Higgins joined Golden Entertainment as the senior vice president of government affairs and business development before being promoted to executive vice president of government affairs later that year.

“Sean worked with Golden Entertainment for over a decade and had an enormous impact on the success of our Company. His love for life, gregarious personality and genuine friendship will be greatly missed by all who knew him. On behalf of Golden Entertainment’s team members and our Board of Directors, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Higgins’ family,” Golden Entertainment Chairman and CEO Blake Sartini said in a Thursday statement.

Higgins worked with Herbst for 17 years before resigning from his post as general counsel in 2010. During his time with the company, he was also general counsel of Terrible Herbst Oil Co., a separate operation.

Herbst Gaming rebranded as Affinity Gaming in 2011, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The company now operates nine properties, according to its website, including two in Missouri, one in Iowa and five in Nevada, including Whiskey Pete’s, Buffalo Bill’s and Silver Sevens. Mary Beth Higgins, Higgins’ sister, was appointed CEO of Affinity Gaming in April 2019.

A spokesperson for Affinity Gaming and Z Capital said the companies extend their deepest condolences to both Mary Beth Higgins, as well as the extended Higgins family.

“Sean’s contributions, both professionally to our company and personally to those he worked with, were numerous and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” the statement said.

Higgins joined Las Vegas-based law firm Gordon Silver as a partner between 2010 and 2015 and was managing principal of consulting firm Porter Gordon Silver Communications from 2011 to 2015. He had also served as principal of STH Strategies, a law firm he founded in 2015.

Higgins and his family have deep roots in Southern Nevada. Higgins started Three Angry Wives, an Irish bar on West Charleston Boulevard, with two of his brothers. He had nine siblings, with five sons and five daughters in his family. His father was a prominent doctor in Las Vegas, as well as the UNLV football team doctor.

Higgins was born in Las Vegas and graduated from Bishop Gorman High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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