Hard Rock Atlantic City Hires Former Borgata Marketing Exec as VP

Posted on: July 6, 2021, 10:10h. 

Last updated on: July 6, 2021, 01:06h.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has hired gaming industry veteran Michael Woodside as its new vice president of entertainment and marketing services.

Hard Rock Atlantic City casino Borgata
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City celebrates with fireworks during its June 2018 opening. The Boardwalk casino has hired a former Borgata marketing exec to lead its entertainment and marketing division. (Image: Hard Rock)

Woodside is moving from the Marina District to the Boardwalk after spending the previous 17 years at Borgata. The MGM Resorts property and Woodside ended their relationship in 2020 amid the pandemic. 

Woodside departed Borgata as the casino’s vice president of marketing, a position he held since 2008. Hard Rock says that Woodside has a wealth of experience in entertainment, marketing, player development, and casino credit. 

Poaching Borgata

The competition in Atlantic City is as fierce as ever. With nine casino resorts operational, and the properties reeling from a most difficult year, the properties are battling to grab customers as they return to the New Jersey beachfront town. 

Borgata has been the dominant casino floor in Atlantic City for years. The MGM venue has commanded the largest share of land-based gross gaming revenue (GGR) in each of the last five years. 

Year:                       2020           2019          2018           2017          2016

Total GGR:           $1.51B        $2.6B       $2.5B           $2.4B      $2.4B

Borgata:               $337.5M    $709.5M   $710.7M    $755M     $722M

Market Share:        22.5            27.2           28.4            31.4          30.0

Hard Rock, which opened in June of 2018 following a more than half-billion-dollar renovation from the former Trump Taj Mahal, has commanded a smaller market share. The casino resort reported a 2018 brick-and-mortar GGR of $161.6 million, $324 million in 2019, and $224.8 million last year.

Borgata, of course, wants to keep its reign as Atlantic City’s richest casino going. That’s why MGM Resorts was furious when Ocean Casino Resort seemingly poached six of its marketing employees who had non-compete agreements in place. 

Borgata last summer filed a lawsuit against Ocean on allegations that Ocean engaged “in the process of raiding Borgata’s casino marketing department.” Borgata and Ocean settled the lawsuit privately in April 2021. Woodside was not involved in the suit, as he had parted ways with Borgata before the casino filed the August 2020 litigation.

AC Market Share

January through May 2021, GGR from land-based gaming in Atlantic City totals $895.9 million. Borgata leads the way at $208.9 million — or approximately 23.3 percent of the market. 

Hard Rock is now the number two casino in town, the property reporting casino revenue of $151.1 million during the five-month stretch. That represents a roughly 17 percent market share.

Ocean is third at $106.2 million (11.8 percent), Tropicana fourth at $89.9 million (10 percent, and Harrah’s fifth at $89.8 million (10 percent).

Hard Rock Anniversary

June 28 marked Hard Rock Atlantic City’s third anniversary. The casino resort celebrated by hosting its first full-capacity concert since the COVID-19 pandemic began, country musician Darius Rucker doing the honors. 

Hard Rock donated $10,000 each to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Covenant House, and Turning Point Day Center in its ongoing commitment to better the community. Atlantic City officials also designated June 28 as “Hard Rock Day” in the city.