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Ralph Engelstad, 72; Las Vegas Casino Owner Built Motor Speedway

November 30, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Ralph Louis Engelstad, 72, a casino owner and entrepreneur in Las Vegas and later Mississippi, died Tuesday of lung cancer at his home in Las Vegas.

Known best as the owner of the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, Engelstad eventually branched out and built the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which he later sold. He also developed another Imperial Palace in Biloxi, Miss.

The grandson of Norwegian immigrants, Engelstad was born in Thief River Falls, Minn. He played goaltender on his college hockey team at the University of South Dakota. He later financed the school's hockey arena, which bears his name.

Engelstad moved to Las Vegas in 1959, and made much of his wealth in home construction and land sales.

He was not without controversy, however, when it was disclosed that he hosted parties to celebrate the birth of Adolf Hitler. Engelstad later apologized for the parties, calling them "not only stupid but insensitive."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 01, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 103 words Type of Material: Correction
Engelstad obituary -- The obituary of Ralph Louis Engelstad in Saturday's California section incorrectly stated that he played hockey for and later financed a hockey arena at the University of South Dakota. He was a collegiate goaltender and later paid to build the Ralph Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota.

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