New Jersey Casino Association Appoints New President

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A general view of Resorts, Hard Rock, Showboat, and Ocean Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

This week it was announced that the New Jersey Casino Association (CANJ) appointed Resorts Casino Hotel CEO Mark Giannantonio as the new president of the organization after the former leader and Hard Rock Atlantic City CEO, Joe Lupo, stepped down.

Joe Lupo Leaves 

Joe Lupo did not leave his job as CEO of the Casino Association of New Jersey under mysterious or inauspicious circumstances. No, Lupo remains highly respected throughout the gaming industry but he has been summoned by his company, Hard Rock International, to take the reins of their future Las Vegas Strip casino, scheduled to open in 2025. 

Lupo had only been in the position since late last year after the surprise resignation of Ocean Casino Resort CEO Terry Glebocki from both the casino and the CANJ. The CEO of the Association is always occupied by one of the nine Boardwalk casino executives and although Lupo had only been the chief of the organization for a short time, he made an impact in the position.  

Core Values

He stayed true to the values of the CANJ which advocates on behalf of the gaming properties “by supporting legislation and initiatives that advance the ongoing revitalization of Atlantic City into a world-class destination.” 

One of the Association’s main issues is the way the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) is reported. With the advent of online gambling, both the retail and digital revenue is lumped together but that gives a false impression of how much the Atlantic City casinos are actually making because much of the online money goes to the platform providers and not the casinos themselves.  

A few months before taking the position, Lupo said, “We need to see the city revitalized, and it’s not going to happen when the media is reporting increases when they add in online revenue that is going to third-party companies that don’t have any stake in the Atlantic City game. Why the numbers are not reported with more transparency, I’ll never know,” 

Resorts Boss Takes Over 

Resorts was the first casino in Atlantic City to swing open its doors way back in 1978 and now its big boss will take command of the CANJ ship. Resorts Casino Hotel CEO Mark Giannantonio was pleased to be selected and stated:

“I am honored to succeed Joe Lupo as the next president of the Casino Association of New Jersey. I have deep roots in this community, and I am ready to work together with the city and the state to continue to advance Atlantic City and elevate its status as a leading entertainment hub and destination resort.”

The Right Person

His predecessor, Lupo, believes Giannantonio is the right man for the job. “Mark is a lifelong Atlantic County resident who cares deeply about this city and community, and I am confident he will be a great voice for the industry moving forward.” 

One of CANJ’s mission statements reads, “A thriving casino industry drives economic growth, job creation, increased tax revenue for state and local budgets, and prosperity for city residents, hardworking families, and businesses that rely on the casinos for their livelihood.” 

Smoking Ban Controversy

And part of that effort is to continue to maintain a section of every casino floor reserved for smokers. Many casino workers in Atlantic City are trying to get a total smoking ban throughout every casino in the city.  

Currently, 75 percent of the casino floor is non-smoking while a quarter is reserved for smokers. The casino owners insist that studies have demonstrated that smokers tend to gamble more and spend more than their non-smoking peers. This is one hot-button topic that Giannantonio will have to wrestle with as soon as he hangs his hat at his second job.