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.
Jay Snowden commented, “We are very excited to welcome Rafael to the Penn National team and believe his track record in developing and growing gaming operations in markets of varying size across the U.S. make him an ideal candidate to build on the strong performance at Zia Park Casino. Zia Park is benefiting from a healthy economy in its east New Mexico and west Texas feeder markets and we believe Rafael’s success in cultivating relationships with Texas-based customers, particularly at Pinnacle’s property in Lake Charles, Louisiana, will serve him well as he works to replicate that success in New Mexico in both our gaming and racing operations.“Zia Park is a key member of both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing communities in New Mexico and we look to a continued close partnership with the local horsemen under Rafael’s leadership. I’d like to thank Brent Willits for his record of service at Penn National and for the solid foundation he built at Zia Park since assuming the GM role at the facility in 2010. On behalf of the entire senior management team at Penn National, I wish him the best in his retirement.” About Penn National Gaming Penn National Gaming, through its subsidiaries, owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The Company presently operates twenty-seven facilities in nineteen jurisdictions, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario. In aggregate, Penn National's operated facilities feature approximately 31,700 gaming machines, 725 table games, 2,400 hotel rooms and 1.35 million square feet of gaming floor space. Penn National is currently developing a casino in Columbus, Ohio which is expected to open October 8, and has agreed to acquire Harrah’s St. Louis gaming and lodging facility from Caesars Entertainment with the transaction expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Forward-looking StatementsThis press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may vary materially from expectations. Although Penn National Gaming, Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company”) believe that our expectations are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of our knowledge of our business and operations, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from our expectations. Meaningful factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations include, but are not limited to, risks related to the following: our ability to receive and maintain, or delays in obtaining, the regulatory approvals required to own, develop and/or operate our facilities, or other delays or impediments to completing our planned acquisitions or projects, including favorable resolution of any related litigation; our ability to secure state and local permits and approvals necessary for construction; our ability to receive timely regulatory approval for and to otherwise complete our planned acquisition of Harrah’s St. Louis (failure to do so could, among other things, result in the loss of certain deposits); our ability to maintain agreements with our horseman, pari-mutuel clerks and other organized labor groups; the passage of state, federal or local legislation (including referenda) that would expand, restrict, further tax, prevent or negatively impact operations in or adjacent to the jurisdictions in which we do or seek to do business (such as a smoking ban at any of our facilities); the effects of local and national economic, credit, capital market, housing, and energy conditions on the economy in general and on the gaming and lodging industries in particular; the activities of our competitors and the emergence of new competitors (traditional and internet based); increases in the effective rate of taxation at any of our properties or at the corporate level; changes in accounting standards; our dependence on key personnel; the impact of terrorism and other international hostilities; the impact of weather; and other factors as discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K as filed with the SEC. The Company does not intend to update publicly any forward-looking statements except as required by law.