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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.

Gambling in the USA

Top C-level Executives, State Representatives are joining the speakers’ lineup at Sports Betting & Casino Summit North America

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

CEOs, decision-makers, and Government officials among the speakers at the virtual edition of Sports Betting & Casino Summit North America.

With less than a month to go until the Sports Betting & Casino Summit North America (Virtual Conference) will open its virtual doors, we are honored to announce some big names of the North American gambling industry that will be joining the speakers’ lineup.

The top industry companies have all confirmed their interest in the inaugural event which will break all records for the organizing company.

Register now to secure your seat(s)! REGISTER HERE!

Among the already confirmed 40 speakers, you can find:

  • Brandt Iden (State Representative at the State of Michigan)
  • Nick Papadoglou (Chief Commercial Officer at Intralot Inc/US – Head of Sports Betting in the US)
  • Joe Asher (CEO at William Hill US)
  • Seth Schorr (CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and Chairman of Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino)
  • Jay Kornegay (Vice President Race & Sports Operations – Westgate LV Resort & Casino)
  • Grant Johnson (CEO at Esports Entertainment Group)
  • Dmitry Starostenkov (CEO at Evenbet Gaming – the leading poker platform provider)
  • Daniel J. Kustelski (CEO & Co-founder at Chalkline Sports)
  • Benjie Levy (President/COO at Score Media and Gaming Inc
  • Lloyd Danzig (Founder & CEO at Sharp Alpha Advisors)

You can view the full list of speakers on the official site.

We are happy to also reveal the program of the conference which will start on 23 June at 12:00 PM EDT (New York Time) / 9:00 AM (Pacific Time) / 6:00 PM (CET), and looks the following way:

Day 1 (23 June)

  • THE STRATEGY OF RESTARTING THE ONLINE SPORTS BETTING INDUSTRY
  • NAVIGATING THE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES IN US SPORTS BETTING & ONLINE GAMING IN AN EVER CHANGING WORLD POST COVID-19
  • THE FUTURE OF LEGALIZED SPORTS BETTING IN CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, AND TEXAS
  • OUTLOOK FOR US GAMING – WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THE US GAMING MARKET TO NORMALISE
  • LAS VEGAS – RE-LAUNCH OF THE STRIP
  • ESPORTS BETTING VS CLASSIC SPORTS BETTING IN NORTH AMERICA
  • VIRTUAL GAMING, IS IT GAINING TRACTION IN AMERICA AND CANADA AUDIENCE?

Day 2 (24 June)

  • IS THERE REALLY AN ONLINE POKER RENESSAINCE?
  • INNOVATION DURING AND POST COVID-19 – HOW IS THE INDUSTRY ADAPTING?
  • COMPLIANCE AND CERTIFICATION DURING COVID-19
  • TRIBAL GAMING INDUSTRY – A NEW ERA?
  • THE FUTURE OF ONLINE GAMING IN CANADA
  • RESPONSIBLE GAMING: LESSONS LEARNED FROM EUROPE AND VICE VERSA
  • THE CURRENT & FUTURE STATE OF THE SPORTS BETTING INVESTMENT LANDSCAPE

The full schedule is available on this link!

Register now to secure your seat(s)! REGISTER HERE!

The virtual conference is designed to bring together regulators, operators, suppliers, marketing managers, C-Level Executives, policymakers, and more for two days of quality online learning and networking.

More speakers and moderators are being added daily so make sure to visit, the event’s official website frequently for updates: summits.gamingamericas.com

For further sponsorship/speaking and marketing inquiries, make sure to reach out to Andrada Bota (B2B Sales Executive at Hipther Agency).

For media-related inquiries, please contact Alexandru Marginean (Marketing Specialist at Hipther Agency).

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Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – May 25-31

Niji Narayan

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news.

Last week, several gambling companies have re-entered into their businesses despite the ongoing pandemic. Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which includes casino reopening, new partnerships, product launches, award winnings, latest approvals, and recent announcements. Read on and get updated.

Casino Reopening

Most of the casinos have resumed their operations this week. Some are on the preparations to restart their business.

Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said that the plans to partially reopen Foxwoods Resort Casino on June 1 are still moving ahead despite opposition from Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

Rodney Butler told in an interview that Lamont is welcome to tour Foxwoods and see firsthand the safety precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ranging from fewer open slot machines to air filtration systems.

New Deals

AGS announced a new partnership with the Kindred Group to provide its online, real-money games for the Kindred Group’s Unibet brand in New Jersey.

The Vancouver Titans esports team entered into a new partnership agreement with Pizza Hut Canada and designated Pizza Hut as the Official Pizza of the team and their fans.

Microgaming signed an exclusive distribution agreement with game design and development studio, Neko Games. The studio’s Super Showball video bingo game is live on Microgaming’s content aggregation platform from 26 May 2020.

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) and Aristocrat Leisure entered into an agreement in principle to settle the Kater v. Churchill Downs, and Thimmegowda v. Big Fish Games lawsuits.

New Launchings

The igaming publishing company Oddschecker Global Media announced the launch of RacingPicks, a standalone horse racing site. The site’s purpose is to provide day-to-day expert content to the American racing community.

TransAct Technologies Incorporated launched its new Epicentral Clean2Play Sanitization Tracking System for casinos. This new casino product provides real-time printed proof that a slot machine has been cleaned, sanitized, and is ready for play.

The D.C. Lottery is set to launch its sports betting platform in the coming days. The online sportsbook GambetDC will take its first wagers in June, even though a large number of global sports events remain canceled due to COVID-19.

Awards

Michigan State Rep. Brandt Iden received an honorary American Gambling Award for his extraordinary efforts in legalizing sports betting, online poker, and online casino gaming throughout the state in 2019.

Latest Approvals

Illinois lawmakers have approved an approximately $40 billion state budget that largely maintains spending, along with a plan to push forward a Chicago casino.

The budget, which largely relies on federal funding, mostly maintains funding from the current budget, which the exception of health care agencies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Legislators also approved a plan pushed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to change the tax structure for a casino in the city. The Chicago casino was included in last year’s gambling expansion authorizing six new casinos, part of a critical funding source for the state’s $45 billion capital plan.

Financial Help

Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) is going to receive a $500m loan from the Provincial Government.

With Ontario’s state of emergency shuttering casinos, slot machines, and racetracks for the past two months, the gaming monopoly was in dire need of a cash injection.

Announcements

Brazilian Deputy Bacelar has affirmed that the legalization of all gambling verticals could play a key role in economic stability in the country.

He stated that following the current health pandemic, he is in favor of legalizing all gambling verticals, including jogo do bicho, on the grounds that gambling could save Brazil from its current financial crisis and rejuvenate the economy.

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Gambling in the USA

GAN Signs Platform Deal with Cordish Companies

Niji Narayan

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GAN Signs Platform Deal with Cordish Companies
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Cordish Gaming Group, the global gaming division of the Cordish Companies, has selected GAN Limited as the enterprise software Platform provider to power its new “PlayLive!” branded Internet gambling business in the State of Pennsylvania, complementing the development of two new Live!-branded gaming facilities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The new Live! Casino & Hotel, located in the Stadium Entertainment District in the City of Philadelphia, will be a world-class hotel, gaming & entertainment destination featuring 2200 slot machines and 150+ live action table games.

The second new Live! Casino, located in Westmoreland County, near Pittsburgh, will feature more than 100,000 square-feet of gaming, dining and entertainment space, including 750 slots and approximately 30 live action table games. Both locations are expected to open in 2020.

Live! Casino will be GAN’s third client of real money Internet gambling enterprise software in the State of Pennsylvania, expanding GAN’s real money Internet gambling operations in the U.S. These operations now include the following states—New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, as well as Michigan and Ohio, both of which are expected to commence operations in the first half of 2021.

“We’re delighted to expand upon our long-standing relationship with one of America’s premier commercial real estate families. Bringing Pennsylvania’s newest casino online later this year will be a genuine privilege, and we look forward to supporting their on-property gaming business by leveraging our U.S. patented iBridge Framework, bridging the Internet gambling experience with that of retail gaming. Online will remain the growth driver of this Industry for decades to come, not just in Pennsylvania but across the nation,” Dermot Smurfit, CEO of GAN Limited, said.

“With our established relationship, GAN was the logical provider of our enterprise platform for launching real money Internet gambling and offers Cordish the ability to extend on-property rewards into the online channel, which has been shown to increase loyalty amongst players of Simulated Gaming,” Robert J. Norton, President of Cordish Gaming Group, said.

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