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Penn National to promote COO Snowden to chief executive role


Penn National Gaming (PNG) has announced that its chief operating officer Jay Snowden will serve as the operator’s new chief executive, replacing the retiring Timothy Wilmott in the role. 

Snowden, who has served as COO since January 2014, and president since March 2017, will assume the role on 1 January, 2020, and has been appointed to the operator’s board of directors with immediate effect.

It follows Wilmott’s decision to retire as chief executive and a board member. He has served as CEO since November 2013, having joined the company as president and COO in February 2008. Under his leadership, PNG has growth significantly, through the opening of new casinos and acquisition of existing facilities, most recently a $2.8bn deal for Pinnacle Entertainment.

Since Wilmott joined in 2008, PGN has more than doubled annual revenue, with full-year revenue for 2019 expected to surpass $5bn. He is the second long-serving executive to step down from a leadership role with the operator this year, after chairman and former CEO Peter Carlino announced his departure in June.

“On behalf of the Board, our shareholders and employee teams, we want to thank Tim for his significant contributions to Penn National’s transformation during his tenure, including his commitment to operational excellence and shareholder returns,” PNG chair David Handler said.

Wilmott added: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have led Penn National through a transformational period in the company’s history, including the acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment, the creation of the industry’s first gaming [real estate investment trust (REIT)] and other initiatives that have driven growth, created shareholder value and positioned the company for future success.

“After more than 30 years in the industry that I love, I look forward to Penn National’s further growth under Jay’s leadership.”

Snowden first joined PNG as senior vice president of regional operations in October 2011. In his current role, as COO, he oversees operations, marketing, interactive, IT and human resources, and led its integration with Pinnacle Entertainment.

He previously worked for Caears Entertainment, spending 12 years working in regional and destination markets for the operator, which merged with Eldorado Resorts in June this year.

“Since I joined Penn National, the company has cemented its reputation as one of the gaming industry’s best managed and largest operators of regionally diverse gaming properties,” Snowden said. “This success is a reflection of the company’s disciplined operating strategies and unparalleled execution by our dedicated team.

“Along with our Board, senior management, corporate and property teams, we will continue to build on the foundation laid by Peter Carlino and Tim Wilmott. We are entering a very dynamic time for our company and I couldn’t be more excited, honored and humbled to lead this amazing company into the future.”

The announcement of PNG’s change in leadership comes after the operator’s Penn Interactive Ventures subsidiary announced a host of market access deals with leading sportsbook operators. This will see DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore and The Stars Group leverage the operator’s land-based presence to move into a number of states.

In addition, Kambi has been selected as the operator’s land-based and online sports betting technology provider, to power wagering in states where regulated wagering is permitted.