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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.

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – April 5-11

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! It was again an eventful week in the USA, despite the still-active virus attack.

Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news, new partnerships and compliance updates. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Scientific Games has launched Mural cabinet, the most visually dramatic gaming cabinet in the company’s range of industry-leading products. The Mural cabinet captures the imagination with its stunning dual 55-inch, 4K resolution curved display, immersing the player in the game and creating an eye-catching attraction on the casino floor. Following the successful launch of Kascada, the next generation of the top-selling TwinStar J43 cabinet, the Mural cabinet’s massive display takes the evolution of Scientific Games’ cabinet building prowess a step further.

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Bally’s Corporation have formally rebranded Sinclair’s regional sports networks as Bally Sports. The rebrand comes on the heels of the November 2020 announcement of the enterprise-wide, long-term strategic partnership between Sinclair and Bally’s.

Scientific Games has launched its online iLottery subscription programme, Subscription Spot, for its longtime Canadian customer, Western Canadian Lottery Corporation. Subscription Spot is available via the WCLC website and is the first instance of a true digital offering for players, allowing the online purchase of lottery games and creating a pathway to digital modernisation with a larger online presence for the lottery.

New Partnership

BetMGM has become an official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers under the terms of a multi-year sponsorship agreement. Highlights of the sponsorship deal include BetMGM branding on scoreboards throughout Comerica Park, fan-focused promotions, integrated social media content and more.

New Acquisition

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company has acquired the assets of a gaming centre previously owned by a PLAYlive Nation franchisee in Vancouver. The gaming centre was originally opened in 2013 and has a database of over 17,000 unique customers. The venue is expected to reopen in mid-April.

Compliance Updates

The Brazilian authorities have launched an inquiry aimed at banning loot boxes in the country, on the recommendation of the National Association of Child and Adolescent Defence Centres. The association argued that randomised monetisation mechanics are a form of gambling, which is illegal in Brazil. The inquiry targets companies that sell loot boxes, including Activision, EA, Konami, Nintendo, Riot Games, Ubisoft, Tencent and Valve. If the ban is approved, Brazil could fine violators up to $706,000 per day.

The state of New York has announced it approved a budget for its fiscal year 2022 that would allow for legal online wagering in the state for the first time. Further reporting from the Action Network and the Buffalo News indicates the plan to implement online sports betting will be some form of a limited-operator model that has been championed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Governor said he wants to run the state’s sports betting industry through the New York Lottery, which is run by the government.

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Gambling in the USA

SoftSwiss Sportsbook launches in-play bets for American leagues

George Miller

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SoftSwiss Sportsbook launches in-play bets for American leagues
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

SoftSwiss announces the introduction of the new functionality on its recently launched Sportsbook solution. Now the platform will allow players to place live bets on the most popular American leagues such as NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), The National Hockey League (NHL), The National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) are some of the most popular leagues which attract audience from all over the world. Previously, American league odds were available only as a pre-match bet option — now it is also provided as a live betting option (in-play betting), diversifying player engagement. As odds fluctuate a lot more frequently with in-play, it brings more variables to the game, whilst also increasing the value delivered when odds drift. The newly extended Sportsbook functionality will be of particular interest to both SoftSwiss B2B clients, as well as their players. The main odds feeds provider behind the platform is the industry leader Betradar.

Alexander Kamenetskyi, Product Owner of SoftSwiss Sportsbook noted: “We are continuously expanding the functionality and enhancing the interface of our product, making SoftSwiss Sportsbook even more versatile, reliable and secure for our clients. With this new in-play bets option SoftSwiss Sportsbook will be able to maximise player engagement, as well as increase interest in the product from the side of operators. Our platform is actively expanding geographically and we would like to thank our partners for their trust”.

SoftSwiss Sportsbook continues expanding its horizons — just since its official launch in December 2020, the solution already signed 5 clients, and is currently in the process of launching several more in April, including third-party clients.

SoftSwiss Sportsbook Platform is an all-in-one solution for managing sports betting operations. The solution comes with full risk management, fraud prevention and high-quality customer support. Sportsbook inherits the company’s extensive experience in the iGaming market and all crucial functionality from the SoftSwiss Online Casino Platform: security, stability, advanced player segmentation, and adaptability to operators’ marketing needs.

About SoftSwiss
SoftSwiss is an international tech brand supplying widely acclaimed, certified software solutions for managing iGaming operations. The company has a vast product portfolio, which includes an online casino platform, game aggregator with thousands of casino games, an affiliate system, and a recently launched sports betting platform. SoftSwiss holds a number of gaming licenses, providing a “one-stop-shop” White Label solutions by taking care of all technical, legal, and financial processes on behalf of its customers. In 2013 SoftSwiss was the first in the world to introduce a bitcoin-optimized online casino solution. The company has thus been regarded as the leading technical expert when it comes to the use of cryptocurrencies in online gaming.

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – March 29-April 4

Niji Narayan

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on

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! It was again an eventful week in the USA, despite the still-active virus attack.

Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news, financial results and new partnerships. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Playtech has announced that it has entered a long-term lease in Michigan to house its first live casino studio in the US. This state-of-the-art studio will feature Playtech’s best-in-class technology and video capabilities from its flagship Riga studio. The scale of Playtech’s offering means it can offer integrated live content across retail and online channels and across product verticals, delivering live iGaming entertainment never seen before in the US market.

PointsBet Holdings has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary PointsBet USA and Penn National Gaming have agreed to extend the Online Gaming Services Framework Agreement dated 31 July 2019 to provide PointsBet with online sports betting and iGaming market access in Pennsylvania and Mississippi, subject to enabling legislation and licensure in each of those States. Pennsylvania currently permits online sports betting and iGaming.

Daily Fantasy Sports operator PrizePicks has announced the addition of premier esports titles Call of Duty, Rocket League and Valorant to its marketplace, a major step towards solidifying PrizePicks as the premier fantasy esports operator in North America. PrizePicks already features iconic AAA titles Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and League of Legends on its platform.

Airwaves Media Group has announced the launch of Airwaves Games Network, a multi-platform esports media and production company dedicated to live esports. AGN was founded by former OGN and CJ executives who produced premiere esports events including the 2019 Clash Royale League World Finals, PUBG Global Championship 2019 Group Stages and 2019 Summoners War World Arena Championships, among others.

Sportnco has taken its first step into the US iGaming market with the launch of the SuperDraft Free SportsBook App. The SuperDraft and Sportnco teams worked in close partnership to develop free-to-play betting product targeted at US sports fans. The app will offer players the opportunity to place bets and learn about sports betting without financial risk.

GAN has published its Q4 and full-year results for the period ended 31 December 2020, with full-year revenue up 17% to $35.2m. Annual Gross Operator Revenue increased by 73% to $545 million year-over-year and real money Internet gaming (RMiG) was up 6% to $25.6 million in 2020. Simulated (SIM) gaming revenue increased 66% to $9.5 million in 2020.

Partnerships

FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) have announced an expanded partnership agreement that establishes FOX Sports as the official wagering partner of NYRA Bets and the leading media provider for elite thoroughbred racing through the next decade. The prior FOX Sports/NYRA media rights agreement provided a FOX Sports subsidiary with an option to acquire a 25% stake in NYRA Bets. The FOX Sports subsidiary will exercise this option by the summer of 2021, pending final regulatory approval.

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company has signed a two-year agreement to sublicense the Flamengo Esports brand to a team competing in the popular mobile game Free Fire. The licensing agreement includes a minimum fixed fee of $100,000, as well as 20% of all sponsorship and advertising revenue received by the team.

BetMGM has entered into a multi-year deal with Audacy. As per the deal, BetMGM has become the preferred sports betting partner of Audacy across all sports broadcast stations, digital platforms, BetQL app as well as BetQL Audio Network. The key partnership details include integrated content across Audacy’s broadcast sports stations, customer acquisition opportunities and talent endorsements across Audacy’s wide spectrum of local and national sports betting content.

PGA TOUR and theScore have entered into a content and marketing relationship designating theScore Bet as an Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR across the US and Canada. As part of the deal, PGA TOUR will begin to incorporate daily odds updates from theScore Bet within the TOUR’s live audio play-by-play, distributed via SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and PGA TOUR Digital platforms.

DraftKings and WWE have announced that DraftKings will become an Official Gaming Partner of WWE, subject to regulatory approval in all applicable jurisdictions. The collaboration centers on DraftKings’ popular free-to-play pools product and will launch with an inaugural free-to-play pool at WWE’s two-night pop culture extravaganza, WrestleMania, on April 10 and 11.

New Appointments

Intema Solutions has appointed Leigh Hughes to its newly-constituted advisory board. Leigh brings over 15 years of professional experience in integrated corporate and marketing communications and extensive experience in venture capital services and commercialisation of private and public companies across North America, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

fuboTV Inc. has appointed Ali Ghanavati as head of regulatory technology for its new Fubo Gaming subsidiary. Ghanavati’s extensive gaming career includes roles as chief engineer and as deputy chief of the Technical Services Bureau of the State of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, where he consulted with numerous state agencies and gaming jurisdictions regarding casino gaming regulation and standards.

Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) has appointed iGaming innovator and leader Joe Bunevith as its Director of Client Solutions. In this role, he will work closely with GLI’s sales, compliance and engineering teams on issues relating to new technologies, client onboarding, new jurisdictions and business solutions. Most recently, he served as Director of Interactive Gaming for Synergy Blue in Las Vegas.

Compliance Updates

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has imposed an $18,000 fine to MGM Springfield after finding three separate “unacceptable” failures that resulted in underage persons being allowed to gamble and, on one occasion, being served alcohol.

Score Media and Gaming Inc. has secured access to the Illinois sports betting market through an agreement with Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino, a Caesars Entertainment property. Subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals from the Illinois Gaming Board, the Company anticipates launching its mobile sportsbook, theScore Bet, in Illinois in the second half of calendar 2021.

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