Kevin Ortzman Reportedly Out as Regional President for Caesars Atlantic City Under Cloud of Controversy
Posted on: August 14, 2019, 05:44h.
Last updated on: August 16, 2019, 01:18h.
Kevin Ortzman — who was regional president for Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City — has left the influential Caesars Entertainment Corp. position he held for two years, unnamed sources told multiple news outlets.
Ortzman stopped working at Caesars Entertainment last week, the Press of Atlantic City reported. The news comes as the casino company is awaiting final approvals for its sale to a rival firm, Eldorado Resorts.
The New York Post broke the story on Tuesday, also claiming an ex-employee lawsuit triggered an “internal investigation” that led to Ortzman’s exit.
Jocelyn Agnellini-Allison, who was regional vice president of marketing for Caesars, sued Caesars Entertainment in federal court for wrongful termination. Agnellini-Allison alleged two employees, who reported to her, witnessed Ortzman “making out” with another employee after a work-related gathering in 2017, the Press reported.
Agnellini-Allison was later fired after working in a hostile environment, the lawsuit alleges. She further claimed she was retaliated against for calling attention to the romantic encounter between the male executive and subordinate.
Also, Agnellini-Allison’s direct superiors at Caesars were Regional Chief Marketing Officer Joseph Schatz and Ortzman. The attorney representing Agnellini-Allison, Lane Schiff, based in Philadelphia, declined to comment to Casino.org on reports of Ortzman’s departure.
Eldorado Resorts Pending Acquisition
Also, the change in leadership comes as Caesars is to be acquired by Eldorado Resorts for a $17.3 billion offer. The transaction still requires approvals from regulators and shareholders.
The new gaming company is likely to continue to be named Caesars. Caesars emerged from bankruptcy two years ago.
Eldorado is seeking $500 million in cost reductions as part of the Caesars’ deal. Bally’s in Atlantic City may survive, as Eldorado Resorts moves forward with the acquisition of Caesars Entertainment.
On Wednesday, Ortzman could not be reached for comment. Caesars did not respond to a request for comment from Casino.org, and a company spokesman told the Press they do not comment on personnel matters.
Ortzman has also been president of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ). That is a trade organization that represents the Atlantic City casino industry.
It is not clear if he remains at the top position of the association. Nor is it clear if he remains on New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority executive board.
Tourism Key Focus
The controversy comes as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) wants to grow tourism and see visitation increase by more than a quarter by 2023. Jeff Vasser, executive director for the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, told the Press, Atlantic City is the state’s best asset in increasing visitation.
The Garden State welcomed nearly 111 million visitors last year, who spent more than $22 billion. Atlantic City was responsible for 43 percent of the overnight guests.
New Jersey also has seen visitation climb in each of the past five years. The state welcomed 89.24 million people in 2013, meaning last year marked a 24 percent jump in just five years.
Murphy wants another 25 percent gain by 2023. When he assumed office in January 2018, he announced the tourism goal as one of his priorities.
Atlantic City can improve on its convention business, Vasser adds. The days where people in neighboring states needed to travel to Atlantic City to find a slot machine are long gone, and diversifying the gaming town is viewed as one way to lure travelers and business people.