GGB is committed to providing updated news and analysis on our weekly news site, GGBNews.com.

People

Wilmott named president, COO of Penn National
Longtime Harrah’s Atlantic City executive Tim Wilmott was named the new president and chief operating officer of Penn National Gaming.
   
Wilmott was chief operating officer for Harrah’s Entertainment when he resigned last year. Before his four years in charge of operations for the nationwide operator, he was president of Harrah’s Atlantic City for a year and head of Harrah’s Eastern Division in Atlantic City for five years, during which time he oversaw the company’s acquisitions of the Hilton, Caesars, Bally’s and Claridge casinos on its way to becoming the world’s largest casino operator.
   
Wilmott, 49, will oversee a company in Penn National that is still on the rise. The company just opened the slot operation at its flagship Penn National Race Course outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is often mentioned as a candidate for expansion into Atlantic City. That includes its most recent offer to buy the 140-acre Bader Field site from the city for $800 million.

Trump Marina GM resigns, takes Seneca job
Cathy Walker has resigned as general manager of Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City to accept a job as chief operating officer of three New York state casinos owned by the Seneca Nation of Indians.
   
Walker, who was one of the few female chief executives in Atlantic City, will head the Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel in Niagara Falls, the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca and a temporary casino in Buffalo that is being transformed into a full-fledged gaming resort scheduled to open in 2010.
   
She has been a casino executive since 1995, including the past seven years with the Trump organization. Prior to that, she worked for 13 years as assistant general counsel at the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
   
With Trump, Walker first gained prominence as general manager of the company’s former riverboat casino in Gary, Indiana.
   
Mark Sachais, who previously served as vice president of marketing for Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, moves over to become interim general manager of Trump Marina. The company declined to comment on Walker’s permanent successor.

Executive moves at Cannery
Cannery Casino Resorts appointed Salvatore Semola to vice president and general manager of Eastside Cannery Casino and Hotel and Peter Maksymec to vice president and general manager of Rampart Casino.
   
Semola’s experience covers Native American, public and privately held casino ventures. Before joining Cannery Casino Resorts, he was the chief operating officer of Greektown Casino in Detroit, Michigan, and also held senior management positions with Circus Circus Enterprises, Hilton Hotel Corporation and others.
   
Maksymec worked in various financial and executive management positoins at the former Nevada Palace Hotel and Casino,  beginning as controller in 1985. He transferred to Palace Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, as property manager and vice president of slot operations, and worked various management positions in Las Vegas before returning to Nevada Palace in 1997 as general manager.

Boyd leaving AGA; McDowell appointed
Bill Boyd, gaming industry icon and executive chairman of Boyd Gaming Corporation, has stepped down from the American Gaming Association’s board of directors, and Virginia McDowell, president and COO of Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., was elected the first female member of the AGA board. Boyd remains the president of the AGA’s affiliated charity, the National Center for Responsible Gaming.
   
Boyd was a founding member of the AGA board of directors, where he has served nearly 12 years. During that time, he also served as the AGA’s vice chairman for multiple terms. He recently stepped down as Boyd Gaming Corporation’s chairman and CEO, but remains the company’s executive chairman. Keith Smith, who succeeded Boyd as CEO of Boyd Gaming, also has been elected to succeed Boyd on the AGA board.
   
The election of McDowell to the AGA board also represents another milestone for an industry that increasingly is seeing female executives advance to senior leadership positions. She was named president and COO of Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. last July and succeeds to the AGA board seat previously held by Isle of Capri’s Timothy M. Hinkley.

Salat named president of WMS International
Slot manufacturer WMS gaming announced that Sebastian Salat has been
promoted to the new position of president, WMS International.
   
Salat joined WMS Gaming in January 2000, and has led the company’s commercial efforts to increase its penetration in the global marketplace. Under his direction, WMS has established a sales and service organization that has positioned WMS as one of the leading global gaming equipment suppliers.
   
Salat will oversee WMS’ international business strategy, market development, sales and distribution, and operational execution efforts. He also will oversee the integration of Orion Gaming and Systems in Progress, which were acquired by WMS in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
   
Before joining WMS, Salat served for 16 years as managing director of Spain’s Unidesa Gaming, one of the largest slot machine manufacturers in Europe.

Unicum announces executive changes
Russia’s Unicum Gaming Group announced a reshuffling of top management at its Jet Games Eurasia SIA subsidiary. Alec Tolmazin resigned his position as CEO of Jet Games Eurasia, and Alexey Zhuchenko has been appointed as the new CEO.
   
Also, Oleg Vlasov became a new commercial director of Jet Games Eurasia.
   
“As the activity of Russian gaming business is growing and the governmental program on development of gaming zones in the country is about to start, Russia soon will have four such enclaves like Macau and Las Vegas,” said Unicum Gaming Group CEO Lubov Loginova. “The new zones’ potential is immense, and their marketing perspectives are amazing, while attracting young and energetic top managers will help us hold the leading position as a supplier of gaming equipment to Russia and CIS states.”
    
Unicum also announced the appointment of John A. Dugas as its representative for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dugas will oversee the company’s aggressive growth strategy to maximize Class II and Class III sales and revenue-sharing opportunities throughout the region.
    
Dugas has over 30 years of gaming sales and operating experience with extensive knowledge of key growth markets in Latin America.

O’Brien resigns from Foxwoods
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced that John O’Brien resigned as president of the tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
   
Senior Vice President of Operations Barry J. Cregan will serve as interim president of Foxwoods, and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the resort as well as the pre-opening of MGM Grand at Foxwoods, the expansion scheduled for completion in May.
   
“During his tenure, John made significant contributions to the success of Foxwoods, particularly during his nine years as CFO,” said Tribal Council Chairman Michael J. Thomas of O’Brien’s departure. “We wish him well in his future endeavors. As we enter an exciting phase at Foxwoods, we are fortunate to have someone with Barry’s expertise and knowledge in the gaming and hospitality industry to fill the president position on an interim basis. Barry is a strong leader, focused on solid execution and delivering a positive customer experience.”

Videobet appoints business development director
Videobet, a subsidiary of Playtech, announced the appointment of Peter Cercone to the position of business development director.
   
Cercone’s role will include the ongoing development of opportunities with tier-1 operators and suppliers. He has more than 15 years experience in gaming, including senior positions at Independent Gaming Corporation, Tabcorp and BMM International. He has spent the past two years as general manager of Gaming Laboratories International’s European division.

Madow to head Hard Rock Hollywood
Florida’s Seminole tribe announced that Philip Madow has been named president of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Madow will hold overall responsibility for operations at the resort, which is in the process of replacing thousands of Class II electronic bingo machines with Class III slots under the tribe’s new compact.
   
Madow has 27 years of experience in casino and hotel executive management, most recently as senior vice president and general manager of California’s Pala Casino Spa and Resort. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president for Barrick Gaming Corporation responsible for hiring transitional management and acquisition of four hotel and gaming operations in Downtown Las Vegas.
   
In other Seminole news, Michael D. Rumbolz, CEO of Las Vegas-based cash access equipment supplier Cash Systems, Inc., has been named to the board of directors for Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, and as manager of Seminole Hard Rock International, LLC.
 
Delaware North names managing director
Delaware North Companies named Ronald A. Sultemeier managing director of the company’s Gaming Hospitality Group.
   
In the newly created position, Sultemeier will focus on the company’s gaming business extension that was announced at Global Gaming Expo. He will oversee the new enterprise within the company and will be responsible for leveraging the resources and expertise within some of its key operating companies, including Gaming & Entertainment, Sportservice, Travel Hospitality Services, and Parks & Resorts.
   
Sultemeier joined Delaware North’s racing business in 1994 and was named president of the gaming and entertainment division in 1995. In 2007 he moved to a new role as vice president of strategic development, focusing on new gaming and entertainment opportunities in North America and some international markets.

Lettero named Cannery COO
Cannery Casino Resorts appointed Tom Lettero as chief operating officer, a position he will hold in addition to his current post as chief financial officer.
   
Lettero joined Cannery Casino Resorts as CFO in 2005. He formerly served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Aladdin Gaming, and as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Stratosphere Corporation. He has also held senior management positions at Palace Casinos, Inc. in Biloxi, Mississippi, H.P. Casino Management in Golden, Colorado as well as MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Main Street Station, Mirage Resorts, Sands Hotel and Casino and Caesars Palace, all located in Las Vegas.

McKenzie to head Hard Rock
With Joe Billhimer declining to renew his contract, Duncan McKenzie becomes the new president and general manager of the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi.
   
McKenzie was previously president of Grand Casino Biloxi, and most recently served as vice president for Isle of Capri.

    Recent Feature Articles

  • Diverse Experiences Deliver

    Aristocrat’s journey to the top of the slot industry

  • The Giant Awakens

    With citizens who are known to be some of Asia’s most prolific gamblers, Thailand has emerged as Asia’s next gaming opportunity

  • Responsible Gaming: All Together Now

    Voices from the American Gaming Association’s Responsible Gaming Month on the importance of responsible gaming and how the casino industry is handling the issue.

  • Global Games 2022

    The world’s game-makers prepare to wow attendees with the first unrestricted, fully international Global Gaming Expo since 2019

  • Testing, Testing, Testing

    Want to know whether a product, promotion or event will succeed even before it happens? Market research is the answer, but it has to be more nuanced than it has in the past