Galaxy Gaming executive remembered as a pioneer in his industry
Bill O'Hara, the chief operating officer of Galaxy Gaming and an original executive of Shuffle Master Gaming, died Wednesday morning after a long bout with an unnamed illness. He was 73.
"Bill O'Hara was a pioneer in our industry and a true legend among both his peers and the literally thousands of people who learned from him and followed his example," Robert Saucier, CEO of Galaxy Gaming, said in a news release. "Las Vegas has lost a historic figure. We have lost a great friend."
A veteran of the Marine Corps, O'Hara spent a quarter century as executive vice president of Glemby International, a company that specialized in hair products.
O'Hara got his start in the gaming business when he joined Shuffle Master Gaming as one of its first employees in 1991. He moved to Las Vegas the following year to oversee Shuffle's sales, service and marketing divisions.
He joined Casinovations, Inc., accepting the role of senior vice president of operations and president of the company's Mississippi subdivision.
O'Hara then joined Galaxy Gaming in 2008 and helped transition the company from the private sphere to a public one. He later helped the company acquire Prime Table Games in 2011. Galaxy makes table games, featuring side bets for common games such as blackjack. Galaxy titles include Player's Edge, Emperor's Challenge, Deuces Wild and Texas Shootout.
But O'Hara never limited himself to just the gaming business. He served as an adviser to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and worked on the board of directors of the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association, Casino Management Association and the Better Business Bureau.
"Everywhere you look on the floor of any major casino all over America or throughout the world, you can see something that Bill O'Hara helped build," Saucier said. "In an industry known as much for complex regulation as it is for creative innovation, Bill understood both in almost unprecedented ways."
O'Hara is survived by his wife, Sande, children Nina and Will, and grandchildren Willy, Lexy and Caelen.