Casino Executive News: April 2015
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) announced that respected gaming industry veteran Marcus Prater has signed a new three-year contract extension that will keep him as the organization’s executive director into 2018.
Prater has been AGEM’s executive director since 2008 and his current three-year term was set to expire at the end of this month.
Separately, AGEM also announced that its board of directors has approved the membership applications of five new companies, bringing the trade group comprised of the world’s leading gaming suppliers to a total of 150 members, an all-time high.
AGEM is a non-profit international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of electronic gaming devices, systems, table games, online technology, key components and support products and services for the gaming industry.
GLOBAL MARKET ADVISERS
Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors (GMA), a leading consulting firm to the casino gaming, lodging and airline industries, announced that William Bill Bryson, one of Asia’s leading gaming and hospitality lawyers, has joined the company and will be based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Bryson, who is licensed in the United States and has lived in Asia for 26 years, brings 30 years of gaming, hospitality, corporate, finance and public advocacy experience to GMA. The addition of Bryson to the GMA team will expand the scope of services that GMA can provide to its clients, particularly with respect to the development of casino projects and regulatory advisory to governments.
Bryson will continue to reside and keep an office in Taiwan, which will also expand GMA’s physical presence in the region.
HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL
Hard Rock International has appointed 30-year hospitality veteran, Jon Lucas, as executive vice president of hotel and casino operations. In this new position, Lucas will be instrumental in further igniting the brand’s transition into a world-class, full-service hotel and casino management company.
Lucas originally joined Hard Rock in 2013 as the president of the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park, Ohio, where he managed everything from site design and construction to the hiring and onboarding of key executives. During his tenure at the Rocksino, Lucas’ efforts led to the venue quickly becoming a dominating market share leader in Ohio.
Prior to joining Hard Rock, Lucas was the president and general manager of the IP Casino in Biloxi, Miss., for six years. Lucas also spent four years as regional president at Caesars Entertainment where he was responsible for the oversight of three properties, including more than 1,700 rooms and full-service gaming facilities, encompassing over 5,200 slots and 150 table games.
INSPIRED GAMING GROUP
London-Based Inspired Gaming Group (Inspired), a leading supplier of SBG video lottery and virtual sports, announced that Lee Gregory, managing director of the UK, takes responsibility for the whole integrated UK P&L and Dave Hammond has been appointed senior vice president of mobile.
Gregory will take responsibility for the whole of the UK market across VLT, virtual sports and mobile. Hammond, previously gaming operations director for the UK, will now oversee Inspired’s growing mobile business unit and new Gibraltar-based operation.
These senior changes come after a solid year of growth for Inspired and in preparation for further expansion in 2015—particularly in mobile, according to company press materials.
MYSTIC LAKE CASINO HOTEL
Alison Fogarty has been named vice president of marketing for Prior Lake, Minn.-based Mystic Lake Casino Hotel.
With more than 15 years of experience, Fogarty spent the last 10 years working exclusively with casinos. Most recently, she spent five years with Caesars Entertainment, where her many accomplishments included successfully opening two casino properties in a single year.
Fogarty returns to Minnesota with her new position, having previously worked for Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, and Little Six Casino. She has also worked for Bombardier Recreational Products, Lindquist & Vennum, PLLP, and others.
THE PEPPERMILL CASINOS
Stephen Ascuaga, the former chief operating officer of John Ascuaga’s Nugget, has joined Reno, Nev.-based The Peppermill Casinos as the state-wide corporate director of business development.
In this new role specifically created for him, Ascuaga will develop new state-wide business partnerships, and lead corporate and community relations. The new position highlights The Peppermill’s confidence in the growth of Nevada’s economy and the new corporate partnership opportunities that are possible between one of the state’s largest hospitality companies and the major corporations growing or relocating in Nevada. Ascuaga will also work on regional economic development issues such as air service.
Ascuaga grew up learning every facet of the operations of his father’s company, John Ascuaga’s Nugget. He led marketing and operations in his more than 23 years at the Sparks, Nev.-based casino, and spent the last nine years as the casino’s chief operating officer.