Don Barden, First African American Las Vegas Casino owner dead at 67

Don Barden, First African American Las Vegas Casino owner dead at 67

Detroit : MI : USA | May 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM PDT
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Detroit, MI-Widely known and respected for being the first African American Las Vegas casino owner and major cable franchise owner, Don Barden died early this morning at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. He once partnered with the rich and famous, including a failed bid in the late 1990s to open a $1 billion theme park resort in Detroit with late megastar Michael Jackson in exchange for a city casino license.

Their effort failed when baptist ministers didn't want the casinos in the city. His vision to own a casino never left. And he wanted the casino to be in Detroit, but then-Mayor Dennis Archer rejected Barden’s attempt to get one of the city’s three casino licenses in 1996. Two years later Barden teamed up with Jackson in a second, ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get a casino license. In return, they pledged to build a $1 billion theme park and resort near the Ambassador Bridge.

Barden said in 2004 that he harbored anger over the denial of a casino license.

Barden is a respected name in Detroit from the recognition of Barton Cable company. Barden had been fighting lung cancer for sometime. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement: "Don was a stalwart leader and businessman in this community, as well as a friend. We were aware of his longtime illness, and dreaded this day. We send our condolences to his family."

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano recalled Barden as a successful businessman who maintained a concern for the welfare of Detroit.

Barden started Barden Cablevision and 1979 and built it into one of the nation’s biggest black-owned businesses, selling it in 1994 to Comcast. In 2001 he became the first black person to own a Las Vegas Casino. Barden, born in Inkster, Michigan in 1943 as the ninth of 13 children. The Rev. Wendell Anthony said, “It’s one thing to be successful; it’s more important to be significant. Don Barden was significant as it relates to setting an example of exemplary African American entrepreneurship.”

Barden was 67.

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Don Barden, First African American Las Vegas Casino owner dead at 67
Don Barden dead at 67
Darlena Bonds is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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News Stories

  • Detroit businessman Barden dies after long illness

      AP Online
    Don Barden, a prominent Detroit businessman involved in casinos, cable TV and real estate, has died, the mayor's office said Thursday. Barden had been sick for a few years, said Karen Dumas, a spokeswoman for Mayor Dave Bing. She had no...
  • Detroit businessman Barden dies after long illness

      Kansas City Star
    A spokeswoman for the Detroit mayor says prominent businessman Don Barden has died.Karen Dumas said Thursday that Mayor Dave Bing was informed of Barden's death and expressed his condolences to the family. She had no other details but says Barden had...
  • Casino magnate Don Barden dies in Detroit

      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Mr. Barden was 67. "With a career spanning more than 40 years in casinos, real estate development and the entertainment industry, Mr. Barden was regarded as one of the top African-American entrepreneurs in the nation," the newspaper said. He was the...
  • Detroit businessman Barden dies after long illness

      The Orange County Register
    Don Barden, a prominent Detroit businessman who sold vegetables from the road as a child before making millions in casinos, cable TV and real estate, died Thursday...Barden died from complications of lung cancer, two days after he was admitted to...
  • Don Barden, a Leading Black Businessman, Dies at 67

      The New York Times
    Add to Portfolio The cause was lung cancer, his lawyer, Henry Baskin, said. Mr. Barden's business empire started with a record store in Lorain, Ohio, that he opened at 21 with $500 in savings. Last year, the magazine Black Enterprise ranked Barden...
  • Detroit businessman Don Barden dies

      United Press International
    An iconic businessman from Detroit, Don Barden, has died of lung cancer at age 67, his lawyer said. "He was a great guy," attorney Henry Baskin added, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing called Barden "a stalwart leader...



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