Atlantic City Casino Diversity Evaporates With Nine Resorts Controlled By White Men

Posted on: September 14, 2022, 10:29h. 

Last updated on: September 19, 2022, 07:01h.

Atlantic City casinos are all currently governed by white men. But that wasn’t the case just a couple of years ago.

Atlantic City casino women diversity
The four women who ran Atlantic City casinos pose for a photo on the Boardwalk on Sept. 21, 2020. From left to right, they are Jacqueline Grace (Tropicana), Terry Glebocki (Ocean), Karie Hall (Bally’s), and Melonie Johnson (Borgata). All four women are no longer in their roles. (Image: AP) reported two years ago this week that four of the nine casinos in Atlantic City were being run by women. The news followed Caesars Entertainment appointing Jacqueline Grace to head up the Tropicana.

Grace was the second African-American woman to be named general manager of an Atlantic City casino resort after Melonie Johnson, who MGM Resorts elevated to president of Borgata in May 2020.

Some 24 months later, no female or minority is the head honcho of an Atlantic City casino.

Grace this week exited the gaming industry to take a role at a New York property management firm. Johnson has returned to MGM National Harbor.

Terry Glebocki, formerly the CEO of Ocean Casino, announced her resignation in October 2021 after the resort’s ownership was reconfigured. Karie Hall had been Bally’s GM and vice president since March 2019. But after Caesars sold the casino in 2020, Hall transitioned into a Special Projects role with the casino giant before landing at Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe.

Atlantic City Takes Step Backwards

White men have predominantly run the US gaming industry since the first legal casino opened in Southern Nevada in 1940. Atlantic City had been at the forefront of changing that in wake of 2017’s #MeToo movement.

Caesars announced this week that Grace’s Tropicana successor is gaming industry veteran Joe Giunta, who has more than 20 years of experience in Southern New Jersey. At Borgata, Johnson was replaced by longtime MGM exec Travis Lunn.

The Bally’s Corporation — formerly Twin River Worldwide Holdings until acquiring Bally’s Atlantic City and the casino brand from Caesars — now has Michael Monty as its chief executive in Atlantic City. Bill Callahan filled Glebocki’s spot at Ocean.

The social movement bringing sexual abuse, harassment, rape, and other misconduct to light led to the downfall of one of the world’s biggest casino tycoons. Though Steve Wynn maintains that he never acted inappropriately with female subordinates, numerous allegations against the billionaire led to his February 2018 resignation and subsequent divestiture of his entire stake in his namesake Wynn Resorts.

Whites Control Industry

As for the other five Atlantic City casinos, they, too, are governed by white men. Tom Pohlman is general manager of the Golden Nugget, Gregg Klein heads Harrah’s, and Joseph Lodise oversees Caesars.

Hard Rock recently had an opportunity to appoint a diverse leader to its Atlantic City casino after Lupo agreed to head west to Las Vegas to oversee the company’s takeover of The Mirage. But Hard Rock instead promoted Anthony Faranca to the role.

Resorts has for many years been run by Atlantic City mainstay Mark Giannantonio. In addition to running the Boardwalk property, the oldest casino in Atlantic City, Giannantonio leads the Casino Association of New Jersey.

Though the American Gaming Association does not keep tabs on gender breakdowns among boardrooms and C-level suites, gaming analysts say only about 10% of the executive roles in the US gaming industry are held by women. As such, Atlantic City returning to male-dominated presidents, CEOs, and GMs doesn’t necessarily mean as-qualified women applied or sought the roles now again occupied by men.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported about Karie Hall’s departure from Bally’s Atlantic City.