New leader takes helm at Atlantic City casino trade group

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The trade group for Atlantic City’s nine casinos named a veteran casino executive as its new president on Thursday.

Mark Giannantonio has more than 35 years experience in the casino industry, and has been president and CEO of Resorts casino since 2012. Before that, he was president and CEO of the Tropicana in Atlantic City.

The Casino Association of New Jersey advocates for Atlantic City’s casinos, including in their interactions with state legislators on issues of interest to the casinos and the resort as a whole.

“I have deep roots in this community, and I am ready to work together with the city and the state to continue to advance Atlantic City and elevate its status as a leading entertainment hub and destination resort,” Giannantonio said in a statement.

Giannantonio succeeds Joe Lupo, the Hard Rock Atlantic City president, who is leaving to run the Mirage casino in Las Vegas once Hard Rock completes its purchase of it.

“Mark is a lifelong Atlantic County resident who cares deeply about this city and community, and I am confident he will be a great voice for the industry moving forward,” Lupo said.

Giannantonio takes the reigns amid a crucial summer season for Atlantic City’s casino industry, with millions spent on renovations and new attractions in hopes of a return to pre-pandemic business levels.

Collectively, the casinos’ profitability increased in the first quarter of this year compared not only with a year earlier, but also to before COVID-19, according to figures released in May. However, only four of the nine casinos individually reported higher gross operating profits than they did in the first quarter of 2019.

All nine casinos reached new contracts with the industry’s main employee union in recent weeks. Workers got substantial raises to help them keep pace with spiraling prices, and the contract removes any chance of a strike for the next four years.

Giannantonio is chairperson of the advisory board of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, and serves on the board of the Atlantic City Police Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the steering committee of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton.

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