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Shakeup at Mohegan

Shakeup at Mohegan

The Mohegan Sun in Connecticut last month fired its CEO, Jeff Hartmann, who had been an executive at the property since 1996, and brought in Bobby Soper, who had been running the tribe’s commercial casino venture in Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as CEO.

Hartmann spent many years at Mohegan as the property’s chief financial officer. He moved up to CEO when Mitchell Etess was appointed to head the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. Soper joined Mohegan tribal government in 1997 as legal counsel before going to work for the casino. He was appointed CEO of the Pennsylvania property when it opened six years ago, and has been credited with its success. While competition is impacting many properties in Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has thrived.

Meanwhile, Gary Van Hettinga, president of Mohegan Gaming Advisors, a subsidiary of MTGA, has taken the reins at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

The veteran casino executive has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Resorts as part of a management deal with MTGA. Mohegan Sun has taken over the day-to-day operations of Resorts as well as a 10 percent share in the Atlantic City property. The rest of the shares will remain with owner Morris Bailey. Bailey, a New York real estate developer, bought Resorts in December 2010 for $31.5 million with partner Dennis Gomes. Gomes passed away in February, leading Bailey to seek a new management team for Atlantic City’s first and oldest casino.

Van Hettinga is a 30-year casino veteran who held senior executive positions at Caesars World and Tropicana Casino and Resort before becoming president of Mohegan Gaming Advisors in February 2011. He has assembled an impressive new team, drawing on several executives familiar with the Atlantic City market.

Among them is Mark Giannantonio, who will become the new vice president of hotel operations and food and beverage. A former president of the Tropicana, Giannantonio was ousted from that property during a management overhaul last year. Also on the team is Mary Tindall, formerly vice president of marketing at Tropicana, who will take up the same position at Resorts. Tom Cantone, vice president of sports and entertainment at Mohegan Sun, will oversee entertainment bookings at Resorts as part of his overall duties.

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