Longtime employee new G.M. at Harrah’s | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Longtime employee new G.M. at Harrah’s

Susan Wood

Joe Hasson, 44, spent his first shift Friday in a get-to-know mode as Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s new general manager.

He replaced former G.M. Gary Selesner, who ended a yearlong stint in Tahoe to rejoin his family in Las Vegas to work as Harrah’s assistant G.M. there.

As the former senior vice president and G.M. of the casino company’s New Orleans property, Hasson was described by Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s spokesman John Packer as a people person with a business sense.

Hasson, a 20-year employee of Harrah’s Entertainment whose jobs cover the U.S. map, put people as his first order of business too.

“The most important thing I want to take care of are our customers, our staff and our stakeholders,” Hasson said. “I want to look after the optimal interests of those groups I’ve described.”

He’s been specifically assigned to oversee the integration of Harrah’s and its Bill’s Casino with Harveys Casino Resorts, a former neighboring competitor Harrah’s bought a few weeks ago in a $675 million deal with cash and liabilities.

Hasson plans to spend his early days at the Stateline properties meeting employees to ensure they place a face and a handshake with a name.

He started his Harrah’s career in Atlantic City, N.J. Prior to the position he occupied in New Orleans, Hasson worked at Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas, Laughlin and Topeka, Kansas.

In Topeka he opened and operated the Prairie Band Casino for the Potawatomi Nation of American Indians. This experience puts Hasson in the formidable position of “understanding the competitive dynamics of Native American gaming,” he explained.

Yet with a lengthy background in the casino world, Hasson refuses to presume he has all the answers. He plans to learn all he can about the Lake Tahoe gaming environment and the internal workings of the company here as a quick study.

“I’m the sum total of my experience. I plan to bring the perspective of multiple markets to what customers expect. I’m terribly proud and terribly honored,” he said with humility.

Hasson noted that, in his experience, Harrah’s properties share common values and capabilities. Some of those involve cross-market potential such as the casino company’s Total Rewards program that rewards its players for loyalty. The company also shares a database of 23 million players.

Hasson said he is looking forward to becoming a part of the community. He served as a chamber of commerce president in Laughlin and hopes to keep up his community service here.

Before entering the world of gaming, Hasson worked as a certified public accountant like his wife, Patricia. They were high-school sweethearts.

Patricia and Hasson’s three children, ages 3, 10 and 14, plan to move soon to Lake Tahoe for the family’s next adventure. The two oldest are budding skiers, Hasson said.

“Joe Hasson has done a superb job at Harrah’s New Orleans since assuming the general manager post there last year, guiding the casino’s employees through a tumultuous period with strong, visionary leadership,” Harrah’s Western Division President Carlos Tolosa stated of one of the company’s pivotal upper management shifts.

Hasson’s predecessor, Selesner, is replacing Ted Bogich, the outgoing assistant G.M. at the Vegas property. Bogich will become the G.M. for Harrah’s North Kansas City casino, replacing Bill Noble. He’s going to Hasson’s previous position in New Orleans during the cyclical companywide shift.

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