Don Marrandino stepped down as head of Caesars Entertainment properties in Atlantic City and Philadelphia on Friday, according to the company.
No reason was given for his departure, although company officials said in a release he was leaving to pursue new opportunities. Marrandino could not be reached Friday night.
The Atlantic City native was named Caesars’ eastern division president in 2009, returning to his hometown for the position after 20 years as a top executive in Las Vegas.
With credentials that include singing backup vocals for Donny and Marie Osmond and friendships with celebrities, such as rock legend Sammy Hagar and country star Toby Keith, Marrandino was known for his sense of entertainment and ability to deliver popular acts to the resort.
This year, Caesars, under Marrandino’s leadership, brought Guns N’ Roses to the House of Blues in Showboat Casino Hotel as well as Van Halen and Madonna to Boardwalk Hall.
“Throughout his career with Caesars, Don has been a great partner and contributor, displaying a dedication to service and a knack for cultivating innovative entertainment strategies,” Tom Jenkin, Caesars’ president of operations, said in a release.
While in Atlantic City, Marrandino also was instrumental in bringing in sporting events, from hockey games to major boxing events — including middleweight champion Sergio Martinez’s 11th round knockout of Darren Barker last year in Boardwalk Hall, which drew a crowd of nearly 5,000.
But what made Marrandino particularly special to many in the area was his deep familial roots in the region, including his father, who serves as a middle school principal in Brigantine, said Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic.
“He’s one of our favored sons,” Amodeo said of Marrandino. “For me, if he stays in Atlantic City, I’ll be extremely happy.”
Under Marrandino’s guidance, Caesars also was responsible for increasing charter flights to Atlantic City and proposing the construction of a $135 million Las Vegas-style conference center that is slated to begin this year.
The executive also was at the center of $50,000 in fines imposed by the Division of Gaming Enforcement in November against Harrah’s Resort. Marrandino improperly told dealers to issue $2,000 worth of gambling chips and betting coupons to a celebrity visiting Harrah’s casino floor in August, regulators said. The celebrity, who was unidentified, wagered and subsequently lost the money on blackjack and roulette in the course of a few hours, according to the division’s complaint. The patron did not properly pay for the chips and vouchers, which were issued in violation of casino regulations, according to the enforcement division.
Marrandino started the casino business as a hotel reservations clerk at Bally’s Atlantic City, making $5 an hour. He later moved to Las Vegas, where he spent time as a senior executive at Rio, Station Casinos, Hard Rock, Wynn Las Vegas and later oversaw five gambling halls for Harrah’s.
Following Marrandino’s departure and pending regulatory approval, Kevin Ortzman, who already is general manager of Bally’s Atlantic City and Showboat Casino Hotel, will take on additional oversight responsibilities for Caesars Atlantic City. John Smith will continue on as general manager of Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. Both will report to Jenkin.
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