Choose New Jersey Announces Tim Crouch as Organization's Chief Strategy Officer

Shake-up at Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City

Wayne Parry | Courier Post

ATLANTIC CITY – Hard Rock International is replacing the president of its half-billion-dollar Atlantic City casino after just three months of operation.

The Florida-based company said Monday night that it is replacing Matt Harkness with Joe Lupo, a former Borgata executive who joined Hard Rock a few years ago.

No reason was given for the change.

Harkness oversaw the planning, construction and opening of Hard Rock, which is the former Trump Taj Mahal casino.

It debuted in third place among Atlantic City’s nine casinos in terms of gambling revenue in July, slipping slightly to fourth place in August.

Lupo, who runs Hard Rock’s Tampa casino, was a vice president at the MGM-owned Borgata.

He will take over Nov. 1.

“I would like to thank Matt for his contribution to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and appreciate his efforts leading the successful opening of this exceptional property,” said Jon Lucas, Hard Rock International’s chief operating officer.

Hard Rock said Harkness will assume “new responsibilities,” but did not say what they will be.

Lupo was senior vice president of operations at Borgata, overseeing gambling, marketing and entertainment.

Before Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, Lupo spent 30 years with Boyd Gaming, including 13 at the Borgata.

“Joe has been a talented and proven leader at our Tampa property and previously at Borgata, creating significant property success in both markets,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock’s chairman and CEO.

Hard Rock opened June 27, the same day as another newly reopened casino, the Ocean Resort, which is the former Revel casino.

Hard Rock is one of only two Atlantic City casinos that does not offer sports betting or have a plan to do so soon, along with Caesars.

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