Minnesota Poker Hall Of Fame



2013 MN Hall of Fame Inductee - Lyle Berman


Lyle Berman Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, is a 1964 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Business Administration. Mr. Berman began his career with Berman Buckskin, his family's leather business. Over the next 16 years, he helped grow the business into a major specialty retailer, with 27 outlets.

When Berman's was sold to W.R. Grace in 1979, he continued as President and Chief Executive Officer and led the company to become one of the country's largest retail leather chains, with over 200 stores nationwide.

Mr. Berman led a management buyout of Berman's in 1987, and in 1988, the company was sold to Melville Corporation and combined to form Wilsons The Leather Experts. In the spring of 1996, Mr. Berman participated along with current Wilsons' management, in the purchase of Wilsons from Melville Corporation.

In 1990, Mr. Berman participated in the founding of Grand Casinos, Inc. Mr. Berman is credited as one of the early visionaries in the development of casinos outside of the traditional gaming markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Grand Casinos became a leader in this segment of the casino entertainment industry, known as "emerging gaming," and in less than five years the company opened eight casino resorts in four states. In 1995, Grand Casinos was named the Fastest Growing Company in America by Fortune magazine.

In 1998, Grand Casinos completed transactions when Grand Casinos' Mississippi assets were merged with the gaming division of Hilton Hotels Corporation to form Park Place Entertainment Corporation now known as Harrahs Entertainment. In 1999, Lakes Entertainment, Inc. was formed as a result of Grand Casinos Indian Casino Management business not being acquired by Park Place Entertainment.

In 1994, Mr. Berman financed the initial development of Rainforest Cafe, an integrated restaurant and retail concept. He served as the Chairman and CEO from 1994 until 2000.

As Chairman of the Board and CEO of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Berman was instrumental in creating the World Poker Tour. The symbol is WPTE. In three short years, World Poker Tour revolutionized the game of poker throughout the world.

In October 1995, Mr. Berman was honored with the B'nai B'rith "Great American Traditions Award," in April, 1996, he received the Gaming Executive of the Year Award, and in 2004 Mr. Berman was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Mr. Berman has been instrumental in the creation, development and leadership of several public companies, including:
Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer, Lakes Entertainment, Inc. (LACO.PK)
Chairman of the Board, World Poker Tour Enterprises (NASDAQ: WPTE) until 2009
Chairman of the Board, PokerTek, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTEK) until 2011