Bernard "Bernie" Goldstein
Following a successful 40-year career in scrap
metal recycling, river freight transportation and affiliated businesses as
leader of the Alter Companies, Bernard “Bernie” Goldstein tested retirement in
Florida before using his entrepreneurial spirit to start a second career.
Often referred to in the gaming industry as the Father of Riverboat Gaming, Bernard Goldstein was instrumental in lobbying for the original legislation for riverboat gaming in Iowa. In fact, he opened the nation’s first riverboat casino — the M/V Diamond Lady — that sailed from Bettendorf, Iowa, at 7 a.m. on April 1, 1991.
Bernie opened the South’s first riverboat casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, on August 1, 1992. It was owned and operated by a newly created public company now known as Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Named after the Isle of Caprice, a small island off the Mississippi Coast known during Prohibition years as the place for locals and tourists alike to visit, Isle of Capri Casinos rapidly grew to become one of the largest regional gaming operators in the United States.
Prior to his leadership role with Isle of Capri Casinos, Bernie Goldstein was chairman of the board of the Steamboat Companies which operated casino riverboats in Iowa. He also served as chairman of the board and president of Casino Cruises, Inc., which opened and managed the gaming operations of the Par-A-Dice Riverboat Casino in Peoria, Illinois, through March 1993.
In addition to his interests in the gaming industry, Bernie Goldstein served as chairman of the board of Goldstein Group, Inc. Affiliated Goldstein Companies include Alter Barge Line, Inc.; Alter Trading, Inc.; Alter Energy, LLC; River/Gulf Grain Company; and Green Bridge Company. The author of "Navigating the Century," published by the History Factory (1998), he graduated from the University of Illinois and was admitted to the Iowa Bar Association in 1951.
Bernie Goldstein’s community spirit has earned him recognition from various organizations. He twice received the Simon Wiesenthal Distinguished Community Award. In 1993, he was selected Outstanding Business Leader by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Florida. In 1995, Passenger Vessel Association presented him with the Compass Award, and in 1999, he was inducted into the National Rivers Hall of Fame. He was also honored with the 1999 Louisiana Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year, and the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law. In 2007, the Goldstein Family Foundation honored Bernie by establishing a scholarship fund at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. In 2008, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and was named to the American Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame. Bernie was honored as one of Junior Achievement of the Heartland’s 2009 Hall of Fame Laureates.
A visionary businessman, Bernie passed away on July 5, 2009. He is remembered for his enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit, his devotion to his family and his unwavering commitment to all those who worked with him at the companies he built and the communities where his companies operate.