Air Force Vet Stan Fulton, Casino Owner, Video Slot Machine Pioneer, Dies

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SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — Stan Fulton, owner of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico and a pioneer in the world of video slot machines, died Thursday, the casino announced.

Fulton died Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he lived, the casino said in a statement. He was 86.

No cause of death was released.

Raised in Hancock, Maryland, Fulton joined the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s before embarking on a business career where he built cable television systems and entered the gambling industry.

His company, Fortune Coin, developed one of the first video slot machines.

In the late 1980s, he founded another company — Anchor Coin, which became Anchor Gaming — that operated casinos in Colorado and developed gambling machines, including "Wheel of Gold, the predecessor to Wheel of Fortune," according to the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

In 2000, Fulton purchased Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico and bought a number of horses that had strong careers.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports New Mexico State University said Fulton was the institution's largest single donor. Officials said he gave more than $17 million for projects ranging from the football stadium to endowed professorships to a university aircraft.

Fulton also contributed hefty sums to other entities, such as the city of Sunland Park and the Gadsden Independent School District.

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