Scott Menke, 55, co-founder of Las Vegas-based casino operator Paragon Gaming and CEO of the company has died at 56. Menke founded the company with his cousin Diana Bennett in 2000.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the sudden passing of George Scott Menke, my cousin and a beloved member of our family, co-founder of Paragon Gaming, philanthropist and a visionary developer who served the Las Vegas community for more than 30 years,” Bennett said in a statement released by Paragon. “This is a painful, inconceivable loss, and our family respectfully asks for privacy at this time.”
A cause of death was not released.
Paragon owns and manages Hard Rock Hotel-Casino Lake Tahoe and manages Oyo Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.
Menke was involved in the gaming industry for more than 30 years. He started as an intern to his uncle, Bill Bennett, at Circus Circus and rose through the ranks, taking his first management position at the Colorado Belle in Laughlin, Nevada. He later helped coordinate the construction of the Excalibur and the Luxor in Las Vegas.
With Paragon, he developed Parq Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Located in the city’s entertainment district, Parq Vancouver was managed, developed, launched, and operated by Menke and Paragon until February 2019. Menke was also credited with expanding Paragon’s portfolio by managing properties in Laughlin, western Canada, and two Strip resorts, the Riviera and Westgate Las Vegas.
Menke’s career was influenced by three members of the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame, including his uncle, his cousin, Diana, and Si Redd, founder of International Game Technology, with whom he helped develop the Oasis casino in Mesquite, Nevada.