Tom Ballance, president and chief operating officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, has been selected as the new chairman of the marketing coalition that promotes Atlantic City tourism.
Ballance, who retains his full-time job at Borgata, will oversee the seven-member board of directors of the Atlantic City Alliance. He replaces Don Marrandino, who relinquished his seat as the alliance’s chairman when he left casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. early this month.
As chairman, Ballance will run the board meetings and act as a spokesman for the alliance. The chairman holds no more power than the other casino executives who sit on the board. Ballance noted the chairmanship is largely an administrative position, with the daily operations of the alliance and its creative side left to the full-time staff headed by Liza Cartmell, the president.
Cartmell praised Ballance as being a key board member. She said he was influential in last year’s launch of the alliance’s marketing campaign. She also said he had a hand in the alliance’s 3-D light shows that illuminate Boardwalk Hall and have proved popular with tourists.
Ballance, a 32-year veteran of the casino industry, was named president of Borgata in October, placing him in control of Atlantic City’s top-grossing property. The 54-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident is expected to use his longtime ties to the Atlantic City area to help guide the alliance.
“He brings not only an intimate knowledge of the marketplace but also an unwavering commitment to building a better future for Atlantic City,” Cartmell said.
The alliance is a private, nonprofit marketing organization that receives $30 million in funding annually from the Atlantic City casinos. Last year, the alliance made a splash with its widely publicized “Do AC” advertising campaign that portrays Atlantic City as an upscale, high-energy tourist destination offering more than just casino gambling.
Ballance said the alliance will continue its mission to “build the image of Atlantic City, to execute events that drive new visitors to Atlantic City and to help redefine us as a destination gaming market rather than a convenience gaming market.”
The alliance has been busy lately trying to correct misperceptions that the Boardwalk and other tourist sections of Atlantic City were either heavily damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Although tourist areas escaped relatively unscathed, a poll commissioned by the alliance this month found that 25 percent of those surveyed nationwide and 32 percent in the Northeast mistakenly believed the Boardwalk was destroyed by Sandy.
Ballance said the alliance’s new ad campaign, expected to shift into high gear in late winter or early spring, is part of efforts to show tourists that Atlantic City is recovering from the hurricane.
Contact Donald Wittkowski: