Tim Wilmott announced last month he is leaving Penn National Gaming. He joined Penn in 2008 when it was a relatively small regional casino company, controlled by Peter Carlino, who was the chairman and CEO at that time. The company had completed the purchases of Hollywood Casino Corp. and Argosy Gaming before Wilmott came on board.
Wilmott worked his way up through the Harrah’s organization, first as a prestigious president’s associate and later as a regional vice president. He was the perfect candidate to establish the organizational efficiencies that were required following those mergers.
Wilmott has also been chairman of the American Gaming Association since 2018, and his term is about to expire.
In 2012, Carlino set up the first gaming real estate investment trust (REIT), Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI), which set the stage for subsequent acquisitions.
Under Wilmott’s watch, the company bought the M Resort at the far southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard and in 2015 came closer to the Strip with the purchase of the Tropicana.
The big buy came in late 2018, when Penn bought Pinnacle Entertainment for $2.8 billion in cash and stock. Several other properties were sold to obtain regulatory approval, but the GLPI connection made that deal possible.
Last year, Penn went to another REIT, Vici Properties, a Caesars spinoff, to buy the Margaritaville Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana and the Greektown casino in Detroit.
Replacing Wilmott will be Jay Snowden, another Harrah’s/Caesars alumnus, who joined Penn as COO in 2014, becoming president in 2017.