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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino At Fire Mountain Names New Executive Leaders

George Miller

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino At Fire Mountain Names New Executive Leaders
Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain, slated to become the premier entertainment destination in Northern California once open in fall of 2019, announces its team of top-tier executives.

“We are excited to have a great mix of passionate industry leaders joining our Hard Rock Sacramento family,” said Mark Birtha, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain. “Some are new to the brand and some are seasoned veterans, but most important is that we have an enthusiastic executive team with over 150 years of collective experience working together to develop and operate what will become a top gaming, entertainment and hospitality venue that provides ‘authentic experiences that rock’ in Northern California.”

Kicking off the property’s new executive team, the vice president of financeChristopher Balaban, is a numbers savvy-guru with over 20-years of gaming experience. Balaban possesses a successful track record of delivering results and value through strategic direction and financial operations leadership. Most recently, he held VP finance positions with Affinity Gaming and Penn National Gaming in the Las Vegas and mid-west regional markets. Additionally, Balaban has held positions with Seminole Gaming in South Florida and Kerzner International in Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Balaban also led hotel and F&B operations, developing a diverse operational background. He has an MBA from Florida Atlantic University and a BS from the University of South Florida.

Joining as vice president of human resourcesRyan Flieger, has been with the Hard Rock brand since 2012, holding leadership roles at both Hard Rock Hotel San Diego and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, Flieger successfully led a five-year initiative to redefine the property’s mission and core values, while increasing team member engagement to an all-time high. Flieger also played a lead role in talent acquisition, pre-opening training and culture setting for several Hard Rock Hotel expansions. Prior to joining the Hard Rock team, he spent nearly a decade with MGM Resorts where he helped guide the company’s award-winning diversity training initiative and MGM University. During his career, he’s been credited with leading successful internal cultural transformations and greatly improving talent retention. Flieger has been honored with several recognitions for his effective training programs and facilitation, including “Best Overall Trainer,” “Young Trainer to Watch” and was included in a “40 under 40” list of influential Las Vegas professionals.

A native of Las Vegas, Anika Gaskins serves as the vice president of marketing for the new property. An industry veteran, Gaskins has more than 17 years of experience, most recently opening the $1 billion MGM Resorts Springfield casino property as the vice president of national marketing where she was responsible for all loyalty and casino marketing initiatives. She has also held VP of marketing positions with Penn National Gaming, where she developed and executed marketing strategies and led efforts to increase revenue. Prior to joining Penn National Gaming, Gaskins held various marketing positions with Caesars Entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip and Caesars Windsor in Canada. She received her bachelor’s in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Simmons College in Boston.

A casino executive with close to four decades of experience, the new vice president of table games, Paul Mollo, has been with the Hard Rock family since 2008, where he helped usher in the introduction of class 3 table games in Florida. He now joins the team in Sacramento, California. His management philosophy necessitates creating and maintaining a professional work culture that is built on a foundation of trust, respect, confidence and support. Mollo has worked with several gaming companies over the years to open properties, including Harrah’s, Trump Plaza and Borgata in the Atlantic City market. In addition to his table games role, he assisted HBO Productions with casino gaming aspects on “The Sopranos” and was even cast for several extra spots and one speaking role.

The vice president of IT, Matthew Morgan, brings more than 20 years of gaming industry technology experience from the Northern California, Las Vegas and Midwest markets. Morgan’s wealth of expertise in IT strategy, combined with the application of technical innovation, brings both operational efficiency and product differentiation to each property he leads at. Most recently, Morgan served as the chief information officer at The D Las Vegas, where he was responsible for two casino/hotel properties and technical operations of an 11,000-person entertainment venue. He also served as a vice president at Red Hawk Casino, PlayerSoft Technologies and Thunder Valley Casino.  Morgan’s focus over the last decade has been to bring mobile products to the casino market to solve common hospitality-industry problems. In May 2019, he will graduate with an MBA from Southeast Missouri State.

Will Provance serves as the vice president of slot operations and has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, working in operational and leadership roles ranging from restaurants, entertainment, hotel operations and casino gaming. Starting at Station Casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada as a corporate slot analyst, he participated in their Management Development Program and worked his way up to director of slot and ancillary gaming operations at Sunset Station. From there, he was recruited by Mark Birtha to run the VLT (Slot) Operations at Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, Ohio’s No. 1 ranked gaming facility. He was interviewed and featured as a contributor in David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research’s book “Tales from the Slot Floor: Casino Managers in Their Own Words” and was named to the Emerging Leaders of Gaming’s “40 Under 40.”  Provance has a Master of Science degree in hotel administration with a focus in gaming from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an MBA in international hotel and tourism management from Schiller International University and an executive certificate from Cornell University in customer-driven marketing.

Kaywan Samadani is the vice president of hospitality. His career began in 1990 at Caesars as a room chef at Harvey’s in his hometown of Lake Tahoe. During that time, Samadani opened two buffets, a steakhouse and a noodle bar, along with four casino bars and butler suites. He also assisted with the opening of Harrah’s Rincon (now Harrah’s Southern California) and the rebranding of the Rio in Las Vegas. In 2006, he relocated to Harrah’s St. Louis as director of F&B before being promoted to director of hospitality. Samadani also served as VP of casino services at Horseshoe Cleveland and Thistledown Racino. He moved to Cleveland in 2011, helping to open the property’s Beverage, Buffet, Culinary, Diamond Lounge and Slots operations.  Most recently, Samadani served as senior director of hospitality at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, where he opened the Mystic Lake Center, a 70,000 square foot convention space. Samadani attended Cabrillo College and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The property continues to build the employee team ahead of the fall 2019 opening and is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs upon its completion, with nearly 750 working at peak times on the project any given day. Upon opening, the property will employ over 1,000 full and part-time team members.  For more information, visit hardrockhotelsacramento.com.

 

About Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain:
Set to open in fall 2019, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain will feature the latest in live music and entertainment, hospitality, world-class gaming and exceptional cuisine. The property will be Hard Rock’s first Vegas-style casino in California and will offer a hotel with multiple suite options, a large gaming facility with more than 1,800 slot machine and table game positions, along with an outdoor pool and deck area, large meeting space and a vast selection of bars and restaurants. The property will also include signature brand amenities like the Sound of Your Stay® in-room music program, a Rock Shop® and a Body Rock® fitness center. Additionally, the project marks a historic partnership between two Native American Tribes – The Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International, and Enterprise Rancheria. Owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain property, the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria is a sovereign Native American Nation offering diverse tribal government services and programs that improve the quality of life for its some 1,000 tribal citizens and surrounding communities in Northern California.

 

About Hard Rock International:

With venues in 75 countries, including 185 cafes, 27 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise available in Rock Shops and online at https://shop.hardrock.com. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands including Hard Rock Live performance venues. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, FL., both owned and operated by HRI parent entity The Seminole Tribe of Florida, as well as other exciting locations including Atlantic City, Bali, Cancun, Daytona Beach, Desaru Coast, Ibiza, Orlando, Shenzhen and San Diego. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street in the United Kingdom, Kathmandu, Nepal, Kyoto, Japan and Chandigarh, India. New Hard Rock Hotel, Casino or Hotel & Casinoprojects include Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Dublin, London, Los Cabos, Madrid, Maldives, New York City, Ottawa, Sacramento, Dalian and Haikou in China. In 2018, Hard Rock International was recognized as a Forbes Magazine Top Employer for Women and Land Operator of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards. For more information on Hard Rock International visit www.hardrock.com.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Gambling in the USA

GLI University’s Mid-Year Regional Gaming Regulators’ Seminar to Co-Locate with NCLGS Summer Meeting, in Minneapolis

Niji Narayan

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GLI University's Mid-Year Regional Gaming Regulators' Seminar to Co-Locate with NCLGS Summer Meeting, in Minneapolis
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The Mid-Year Regional Gaming Regulators’ Seminar of GLI University will be held in conjunction with the Summer Meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States. The venue will be the Radisson Blu Downtown in Minneapolis. Regulators participating GLI Mid-Year Seminar are invited to join dozens of state legislators and hundreds of industry professionals at the NCLGS Summer Meeting.

“As the number of states considering and adopting sports betting laws continue to increase at a pace much faster than anticipated, the GLI Regulators Seminar and NCLGS offer the ideal forum for the discussion of policy choices facing legislators and regulators. GLI’s partnership with NCLGS has resulted in record attendance at both gatherings by attracting the leading policy makers and regulators in the country. It is truly a unique opportunity to meet with those shaping gaming policy and the regulatory environment in the U.S,” Kevin Mullally, GLI Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel said.

NCLGS is the only organization of state lawmakers that meets on a regular basis to discuss issues relating to gaming. Members of NCLGS serve as chairpersons or members of state legislative committees responsible for the regulation of gaming in their state legislative houses.

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Gambling in the USA

Guest from Missouri Wins Grand Prize of $1 Million in Slot Tournament at M Resort

Niji Narayan

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Guest from Missouri Wins Grand Prize of $1 Million in Slot Tournament at M Resort
Photo Source: booking.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

John E, a lucky guest from Hollywood Casino – St. Louis in Missouri, has won the grand prize of $1 million during the 2019 mychoice Millionaire Slot Tournament at M Resort. After three rounds of the tournament play, John E ended up with the highest cumulative score to become the winner of $1 million.

“Out of over 300 players that participated in the 2019 mychoice Millionaire Slot Tournament, we are beyond thrilled that John E. won the grand prize of $1 million. M Resort is a fantastic place to stay and play, especially as our all-new mychoice program ramps up this summer with some really great promotions,” Patrick Durkin, VP of Marketing at M Resort Spa Casino.

During the tournament weekend, guests enjoyed not only exciting gaming action, but also took advantage of M Resort’s unparalleled selection of food and beverage offerings and entertainment. $10,000 in Free SlotPlay and comps were also awarded to lucky mychoice Millionaire attendees throughout the tournament.

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Gambling in the USA

Republican Senator Says Anti-Loot Box Bill Mainly Focus on Children

Niji Narayan

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Republican Senator Says Anti-Loot Box Bill Mainly Focus on Children
Photo Source: politico.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Josh Hawley, the Republican senator, has made waves with his proposal “Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act.” The bill would ban loot boxes and microtransactions in games “designed for children.” According to Hawley, children are the main focus of the bill.

Hawley revealed that the idea for the bill came from “being a parent of two little boys,” as well as “talking to a lot of parents.” He also mentioned that he has heard from “lots of gamers” about their worries about the increasing volume of microtransactions in all kinds of games. Hawley also said that his children do not currently play games at all.

According to Hawley, children may not “know the nature of these microtransactions.” Comparing them to casinos, which of course minors aren’t legally able to enter, he noted that this bill falls in line with other efforts to “regulate what our children are exposed to.”

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