Aaron Gomes was destined to work in casinos.
The 31-year-old from Las Vegas is coming up to his first anniversary as managing director of Jupiters on the Gold Coast.
But how he got there is a spellbinding tale of mobsters, law enforcers and showgirls that would be ripe for a Hollywood screenplay.
''My father started off as a gaming control agent … tasked with going after the mob and chasing them out of Vegas,'' he said.
''He met my mother when he was doing an investigation on the Tropicana … she was working as a dancer in the Folies Bergere at the time.''
Mr Gomes said his father Dennis was a straight shooter, an accountant who was just 26 years old when he was personally charged by the governor of Nevada to clean up the strip in the early 1970s.
''He lied about my dad's age to the media, said he was 35, sent my father to police academy to learn how to shoot up things … then let him loose.''
Mr Gomes said he grew up hearing grisly stories about the measures mob bosses would take to keep control of their empires.
On one occasion, an informant decided to drop in on Gomes snr in his downtown office at the police headquarters, instead of their usual desert meeting place.
''My dad forcefully threw the guy out, walked out to his car and said 'I don't ever want to see you here again,''' he said.
''He said, 'The Metro Police Department has some of the most corrupt guys in the state, they're as bad as the mob.'
''Within a week they found the guy's body in California, and his head [on a fence post] looking at traffic right on the side of the freeway coming into Vegas.''
Dennis Gomes used accountancy to bring down the mobsters, investigating their incomes and outgoings and shining a light on dirty money throughout the city.
It was during one such investigation at the Tropicana in late 1972 that Dennis met Barbara, a classically trained ballet dancer who'd moved from New Mexico to follow her dream of performing on the Las Vegas stage. They were married six months later.
Extraordinarily, Dennis Gomes' efforts to clean up the mob were so successful he drove himself out of work. So he took up running casinos instead.
''He was in charge of all the Hilton casinos, [and also] Donald Trump's and Steve Wynn's,'' he said.
''He learnt so much through the investigations with his finance background that it was just kind of natural for him to take that progression, and he found it easy.''
Born in 1982, Aaron Gomes started counting cards as a teenager, even racing overseas when he turned 18 to practise blackjack in the Bahamas. ''I loved the maths behind it,'' he said.
He studied economics and history in college, but, after graduating, eschewed Wall Street in favour of a $27,000 a year job at the Mirage Casino back in Las Vegas.
''My first week was a rude awakening … I had to spend it picking cigarettes up along the Vegas strip,'' he laughed.
''I went on to wash dishes, was a coin cashier, did some dealing … about a year and a half later, I got into the marketing and spent time as an analyst.''
Meanwhile his father had begun building a casino in Indiana, and invited his son to join him.
''We ran it for about two years before selling out,'' Mr Gomes said.
''Then we formed our new company called Gomes Gaming and we bought a casino in Atlantic City.''
That property - the Resorts Hotel Casino - had opened in 1978 as the first legal US casino outside the state of Nevada.
''The place was losing a fortune and we said, if we're going to go in here and make a statement for our company … let's go in here and turn it around.''
Sadly, tragedy struck in February 2011, when Dennis Gomes died suddenly due to complications from kidney dialysis.
''I was thrown into the helm of being the youngest CEO in Atlantic City history at 29,'' he said.
Almost every casino in the city put up a billboard honouring Dennis Gomes after he died, and the city even named a street the Dennis Gomes Boulevard.
The rush of memories and feelings was too much for his son, who realised he couldn't bring himself to drive down his father's street to work every day.
''I said I need to get as far away as possible for a while just to evaluate things,'' he said. ''A recruiter from Echo called me up and said 'What do you think about running a casino on the Gold Coast?'''
Mr Gomes is comfortable with the morals of gambling, despite continued criticism from some quarters that casinos exploit the weak and the poor.
''To this day, my grandma thinks I'm in a sinful business, and this is my dad's mother and she told him the same thing,'' he laughed.
''But my feeling is, for 99.9 per cent of the people, gambling is entertainment.''
Jupiters is home to Cabaret De Paris, a true showgirl performance with feathers and high kicks.
''It's a classic Vegas show … it brings a bit of that glamour and sexiness to the Gold Coast, which I think it desperately needed,'' he said.
It's also similar to the Folies Bergere show that his mother was in when she met his father.
But Barbara Gomes was adamant that her son point out that she was, in fact, an adagio dancer.
''She said 'The showgirls were the ones who were topless and holding feathers - I didn't do that, I was the classically trained one.'''