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Jim Allen receives lifetime achievement honor

Jim Allen, left, receives the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award and a framed historical photograph of Atlantic City from Charles Anderer, executive editor of Casino Journal Magazine. Allen grew up in the area of Atlantic City and began his gaming industry career there. (contributed photo)
Jim Allen, left, receives the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award and a framed historical photograph of Atlantic City from Charles Anderer, executive editor of Casino Journal Magazine. Allen grew up in the area of Atlantic City and began his gaming industry career there. (contributed photo)

Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Chairman of Hard Rock International, was honored with the Casino Marketing Lifetime Achievement Award July 13 at the Casino Marketing and Technology Conference in Las Vegas.

The award was established in 2004 to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the industry.
Allen, who began his career in Atlantic City in 1979, has led the Seminole Tribe’s gaming operation since 2001 and helped build it into one of the world’s most successful gaming companies.

“I happen to love work,” he said. “[Coming to work for the Seminole Tribe] was the luckiest and wisest decision I ever made in my life. What we’ve been able to do has been a lot of fun and has allowed me to expand my horizons.”

Jim Allen
Jim Allen

Conference attendees filled the ballroom at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. . Allen spoke for about 20 minutes about the industry, his career path, his work with the Tribe, and even gave some career tips to those starting out.

“I have had the opportunity to work with and for some of the legendary people in industry,” Allen said. “For 38 years, the industry has been so good to me, but I’ve never forgotten where I have come from.”

During Allen’s tenure with the Tribe, Seminole gaming revenue has increased by 673 percent. He directed the successful 2007 purchase of Hard Rock International. Since then, the globally recognized Hard Rock brand has grown significantly, approximately 40 percent, and currently has more than 200 hotels, cafes, casinos and concert venues in 64 countries as well as more than 80,000 pieces of music memorabilia.

Prior to presenting Allen with the award, Casino Journal Executive Editor Charles Anderer shared some information about Allen’s career, which started at Bally’s Park Place in Atlantic City. Allen also worked at the Hilton Atlantic City, the Trump Organization, Hemmeter Enterprises, and Sun International Resorts before joining the Tribe.

“He’s an MVP in our industry, no doubt about it,” Anderer said. “With the Hard Rock, he’s been so smart about how they have leveraged that brand and they’ve done it perfectly. He has an intrinsic understanding of branding and also customers. You’ve’ got to keep the Hard Rock entertainment brand strong but the gaming product has to be just as prestigious, and he has kept the product mix right.”

Next up for Hard Rock is expansion of the hotel sector with new properties announced for New York City, Atlanta, London and Berlin.

“Every day has a highlight and a low point; I just try to navigate them all,” Allen said. “My ultimate goal was and is to maximize the equity value for the Tribe and create diversity on a global basis.”

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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