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Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) announced today that subject to customary regulatory approvals, Rafael Verde, 40, has been named General Manager of Zia Park Casino, effective October 1, 2012. Mr. Verde joins Penn National from Playcity, Grupo Televisa’s gaming group, and will report to Jay Snowden, Senior Vice President Regional Operations. He replaces Brent Willits, who has announced his retirement from Penn National.
Mr. Verde has over 18 years of regional gaming experience and comes to Penn National following nearly two years as Chief Executive Officer of Playcity, Grupo Televisa’s gaming division. At Televisa, he oversaw 20 slot parlors operating approximately 5,700 slot machines across Mexico and was leading a division-wide effort to update the properties. Prior to joining Televisa, he spent 12 years at Pinnacle Entertainment in various roles of increasing responsibility. Mr. Verde joined Pinnacle in 1999 as Director of Finance at Boomtown New Orleans and was promoted to Senior Director of Finance first at Belterra Resort Hotel & Casino in 2003 and then at L’auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino in 2004. In 2006, he became Assistant General Manager of Boomtown New Orleans and in 2007 was named Vice President and General Manager at Casino Magic Argentina. In 2010, Mr. Verde was promoted to Vice President of Special Projects and Development, where he was involved with the early development of L’auberge du Lac Baton Rouge. Earlier in his career, Mr. Verde served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance at Grand Casino Avoyelles in Marksville, LA and Controller at Argosy Gaming. Mr. Verde holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also completed the General Manager Program at Stanford University in Stanford, California.