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Bernard Goldstein (February 5, 1929 - July 5, 2009[1]) was the founder and chairman of Isle of Capri Casinos and is sometimes called the "father of modern riverboat gambling" because he was the first person to run riverboat casinos in the Midwest and South after they became legal in the 1990s.


Early life

He received his undgraduate and law degrees from the University of Illinois. He was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1951[2]

Alter Companies

He joined the Davenport, Iowa scrap metal firm, Alter Companies, owned by his father-in-law in 1950[3] and served as secretary/treasurer until 1964, when he was elected executive vice president. He became president in 1973 and chairman in 1980.[4]

In 1960 he launched a barge and tugboat service on the Mississippi River to transport the scrap[5][6]

Its first boat was the MV Frank R. Alter. Its boats are marked by districtive yellow trim. The boats initially transported coal upriver and scrap metal down and then expanded into carrying grain.[7]

In 1998 he wrote a book about the company Navigating the century: A personal account of Alter Company's first hundred years - The History Factory (1998) ISBN 1882771028

Riverboat gambling

In 1989 as he approached retirement he began lobbying Iowa to pass riverboat gambling. His boat the M/V Diamond Lady was the first legal riverboat casino in modern times when it sailed from Bettendorf on April 1, 1991.[8] The President, a gambling boat owned by John E. Connelly, opened 30 minutes later in Davenport.[1]

He opened the first casino in the South in Biloxi, Mississippi on August 1, 1992.[9]

In 1992 the company was listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ISLE.

In 1993 he opened the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Illinois. However he ran afoul of Illinois regulators who said he was illegally overpaid leases for gaming machines from a company owned by his family. He paid a $255,000 fine and relinquished in his license.[10]

It now operates in six states across the U.S., as well as in the Caribbean and England 2 million visitors each year.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ NY Times Obituary
  4. ^ "Alter Companies.(People)(Bernard Goldstein of Alter Trading Corp.)(Brief Article)." Recycling Today. G.I.E. Media, Inc. December 1, 2004. HighBeam Research. 2 Feb. 2009 <>. inaccessible article
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bernard Goldstein - The Gaming Hall of Fame -
  9. ^ Bernard Goldstein - The Gaming Hall of Fame -
  10. ^ Art Golab. "Isle of Capri denies owner was never to return to Illinois Ex-gaming board chief says '93 deal meant state off-limits." Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun Times. 2004. Retrieved February 02, 2009 from HighBeam Research:

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