Casino operator Caesars Entertainment has made a couple key hires to boost the company’s plans to diversify its operations beyond gaming.
On Thursday, Caesars announced the hiring of former Hard Rock International executive VP Marco Roca as its new President, Global Development. Caesars also appointed GE Capital exec Michael Daly as its new senior VP of Strategy and M&A.
Caesars CEO Mark Frissora said the appointments were designed to “unlock new growth channels” that won’t necessarily include gaming operations as part of Caesars’ domestic and international expansion initiatives.
Caesars is still trying to extricate itself from the messy restructuring of its main unit, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2015. The process, which requires the approval of regulators in every state in which Caesars operates, involved prolonged court fights with junior creditors who proved unwilling to accept Caesars’ lowball offers of pennies on the dollar and forced Caesars to sell its social gaming division – one of the company’s few profit-makers – to meet creditor demands.
Caesars reportedly plans to use its new hires to explore opportunities to license its Caesars and Harrahs brands to non-casino hotels. The official announcement of Caesars’ new hires quotes Daly saying the company is “now poised to expand in both the core gaming and hospitality business as well as into adjacent businesses.”
Last week saw Caesars announce the opening of a new full-service studio in Las Vegas to facilitate the production of television, movie and eSports content. Caesars emphasized that the 48k-square-foot facility is the only one of its kind in Nevada. Frissora said the producers behind Who Wants To Be A Millionaire had already begun using the studio for its new series.
Caesars’ mainstay domestic casino operations have been stagnant for some time, leading the company to belatedly pursue expansion opportunities in South Korea, Australia and other Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, including Japan.
In a Bloomberg interview, Frissora said Caesars couldn’t hope to match the $10b budgets of integrated resort projects proposed by competitors Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts. However, Frissora claimed that Japanese officials had told him that Caesars’ lack of Asian market experience was actually a positive, as Macau casino operators were allegedly tainted by the market’s reputation as a money laundering haven.