When Ronald Gordon settled in Shreveport, Louisiana in the early ’90s following an eight-year military career, he had no idea what the future had in store. However, when casino gambling came to the state and operators started to come around looking for staff, he took the plunge and started a journey that, over the course of nearly 30 years, has taken him all over the country.
After spending six years at the three-story Harrah’s Casino riverboat in Shreveport, Gordon made his way to Greektown Casino-Hotel (now Hollywood Casino at Greektown) in Detroit, where he quickly learned an important lesson: “how to deal with the weather.”
Over the next 13 years, he rose through the ranks in casino operations, eventually leaving as senior director of table games. After a two-year stint with JACK Entertainment in Ohio, Gordon migrated to the mid-Atlantic, where he “helped to open up one of the premier properties in the entire region, at MGM National Harbor” in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
By early 2019, it was clear that Gordon had cemented himself as one of the premier gaming executives in the country, and he spent the subsequent three years as director of casino operations, a coveted position in any market. Thus, the only place left to go was the big leagues of the Las Vegas Strip, and in September, Gordon finally got the call he had prepared over 20 years for, when he came on board as vice president of casino operations for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
For Gordon, the chance to break into the gaming capital of the U.S. was one that came with a lot of excitement, but also a lot of gratitude and humility for all the lessons he’d learned from his regional stops.
“Las Vegas is everything that it’s built up to be,” says Gordon. “I believe that every step in my journey has prepared me for this moment. I go back to my starting in Louisiana and then going into Detroit. Detroit was a different type of market. National Harbor then set me up another step… And I think that that preparation is everything.
“And hey, I’m here. Glamour, glitz and lights. Vegas is everything that it’s built up to be—very, very exciting.”
Now that he has had some time to settle into the new role, his first goal for 2023 is to “engulf myself into the culture” and “build relationships,” because as he says, “the culture here (at the Cosmo), you can cut it with a knife. It’s so thick, it’s so solid. It’s real.”
And then of course, a little business never hurt, either.
“I’m looking at generating revenue,” he says. “What can we do to generate a little bit more revenue, to create a little more fun for our guests to come into this building? To make them want to come back. So that’s always in the forefront of my mind. And, then partner with my team here to make sure that happens.”
Given his experience in a large number of markets around the U.S., Gordon says the most important thing for those just starting out in gaming to remember is to “learn the intricacies of where you’re at and be the expert at your business.” Then, as you look towards the next opportunity, you can “take that to your next place and then give back to your team.”