Caesars Entertainment Shuffles Atlantic City Casino Leaders

Caesars Entertainment is making some changes to its leadership team in Atlantic City.

On Monday, the company announced Joe Lodise and Gregg Klein would assume the roles of senior vice president and general manager for Caesars and Harrah’s Resort, respectively. Klein’s appointment is subject to approval by state gaming regulators.

Ronald Baumann had held those positions at both properties.

Caesars did not give any reason for the shakeup.

In addition to the two aforementioned casinos, Caesars Entertainment also operates Tropicana Atlantic City. Caesars took control of the Boardwalk casino hotel over the summer following the mega-merger with the former Eldorado Resorts. The $17.3 billion merger created the largest gaming company in the U.S.

The new company no longer owns Bally’s Atlantic City as Bally’s Corp. finalized the $25-million purchase in late-2020.

Under the company’s new organizational structure, Lodise, Klein and Tropicana SVP and GM Jaqueline Grace report directly to Regional President Steve Callender.

Lodise and Klein have New Jersey ties

For Lodise, this marks a return to Caesars Atlantic City where he started his career. He joined the finance team in 2007 and eventually worked his way up to vice president. His management experience also includes his most recent role, serving as general manager for Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Tunica.

Klein is a New Jersey native and Rutgers University grad, so the move is a homecoming of sorts. He joined Eldorado in 2018 as vice president of operations, initially working with Isle of Capri Waterloo and then Tropicana Atlantic City.

2020 was tough on Atlantic City

The novel coronavirus and resulting government restrictions impacted all nine Atlantic City casinos in 2020.

The gambling parlors were closed for more than 100 days. Upon reopening, the casinos were subject to a 25% capacity limit, a restriction still in place six months later. Visitation dropped off without live entertainment or business conventions, indoor dining restrictions and overall consumer concerns about COVID-19.

As a result, revenue from brick-and-mortar gaming was down significantly. Year-over-year Atlantic City casino revenue from table games and slot machines (casino win) was down almost 44% compared to 2019.

Caesars AC reported $151.2 million casino win in 2020, down more than 44% from the previous year. Harrah’s generated $165.9 million from tables and slots last year, a decline of nearly 47%. Even the usually strong Tropicana was down more than 47%, posting just under $160 million casino win.

Caesars Entertainment plans to reign again in AC

Despite the economic challenges of the last 12 months, Caesars Entertainment still has big plans for Atlantic City.

The company committed to spending at least $400 million across its AC properties over the next three years. A capital expenditure plan for all three Caesars casinos submitted to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement includes:

  • Nearly $160 million in hotel room renovations
  • $31 million for new gaming equipment
  • $16 million for food and beverage upgrades
  • $5 million for pool area enhancements
  • More than $63 million in yet-to-be-named projects

A minimum of $150 million will be spent on Caesars Atlantic City over the next 36 months. This includes $75 million in year one and $125 million by the end of the second year.

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