The Mississippi Gaming industry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and we’ll be taking stock of both the past and the future at this month’s Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi. Along those lines, there are few sessions to which I’d like to call your attention:
Opening Keynote—This will be delivered by Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International. Allen’s journey in gaming started as a line cook at Bally’s Park Place in the early days of Atlantic City. He was part of the casino’s first Upward Mobility training class and was part of the team that developed a first-of-its kind system to analyze the profitability of a food and beverage operation based on the actual cost of its menu mix. This was the early 1980s and, by the end of the decade, Allen was part of the senior management team at Trump Organization, whose accomplishments included making Atlantic City the boxing capital of the world, hosting 20 high-profile bouts including the Tyson-Spinks championship fight. A little over 10 years later, after high-level jobs at Hemmeter Enterprises and Sun International, where he worked alongside Sol Kerzner, Allen was named CEO of Seminole Gaming, where he played a key role in the 2006 acquisition of Hard Rock International. Given his professional journey, it’s no surprise that Allen has a deep understanding of our business and the directions it might consider pursuing going forward.