From left: Joseph R. Jingoli Jr., Jim Allen and Jack Morris discuss plans for the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City during a news conference in April.
By Joshua Burd
Hard Rock International has tapped a New Jersey native and veteran gaming executive to serve as president of the company’s highly anticipated casino in Atlantic City.
The new executive, Matt Harkness, will help oversee the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City when it opens next summer at the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal. He brings more than 30 years of managerial experience in the gaming industry to the post, including 15 years with Trump Casino Resorts in the South Jersey resort town.
The addition comes four months after the announcement that Hard Rock, in partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families, would buy the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal. The owners are now in the midst of a reported $500 million makeover of the property that will allow it to rebrand and reopen it under the iconic Hard Rock banner.
Harkness most recently held the position of general manager at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where he led the operations team through pre- and post-opening, according to a news release. His time in Atlantic City included positions as chief operating officer of Trump Plaza, senior vice president of marketing for Trump Taj Mahal, executive director of marketing for Trump Marina/Castle and executive director of casino administration for Trump Taj Mahal.
He also was chief operating officer of Four Winds Casinos, spearheading casino operations and overseeing the planning and implementation of project development during his nine years with the company.
“With his many achievements and successes in previous leadership roles, we look forward to Harkness bringing his wealth of knowledge in the gaming industry to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City,” said Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International.
Harkness will report directly to Jon Lucas, chief operating officer for Hard Rock International.