BANGOR, Maine — Penn National Gaming Inc. moved fast to find a replacement for the general manager of Hollywood Slots, Jon Johnson, who announced earlier this month that he was stepping down after more than four years.
John R. Osborne, 52, formerly vice president of operations and general manager of another Penn National facility in Tunica, Miss., will take over operations in Bangor immediately, the company announced Monday.
“For a little while, I’m going to split time between Tunica and Bangor, at least until they hire my replacement there,” Osborne said Monday by telephone. “I’m looking forward to working with the people and the city of Bangor.”
Johnson stepped down as head of Hollywood Slots after being named general manager of Empress Casino Hotel in Joliet, Ill., on Sept. 16. He had been the general manager in Bangor since 2005, when the facility opened.
Osborne has held senior-level management positions in the gambling industry since 1982, according to a biography sent by Penn National. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked mostly at casinos in Atlantic City. In 1994, he was named chief financial officer of Hollywood Casino in Tunica and in 1998 was appointed to his most recent position, vice president of operations and general manager.
“John’s background and perspective on developing gaming entertainment facilities in new markets combined with his strong financial background will be important assets as we build upon the initial success of Bangor’s Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway,” said John Finamore, senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National. “In addition to his financial management and operating skills, John has also been very active in community affairs, and we expect him to further develop the strong relationships that Jon Johnson established in Bangor and throughout Maine.”
Osborne said he has been studying Bangor’s plans to build a new arena and civic center in Bass Park across Main Street from Hollywood Slots.
“I’d like to replace [Johnson] in his role with the new arena committee,” he said. “Certainly that’s a tremendous opportunity for Bangor. I’m also excited about learning about the harness racing element of gaming, which is vibrant in Maine.”
Another key issue facing Hollywood Slots is whether the facility will be successful in persuading state lawmakers to allow table games. So far, the Legislature and the governor have not been receptive.
“Table games complete the facility, so we’ll certainly explore the extent to which the state would allow this,” Osborne said.
Other than that, the New Jersey native acknowledges he knows little about Maine.
“I know it gets a lot of snow, that it’s cold and that it’s beautiful,” he said.
Penn National Gaming owns and operates gambling and racing facilities with a focus on slot machine entertainment in 14 states: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In aggregate, Penn National operated facilities feature more than 26,300 gambling machines, approximately 400 table games, more than 2,000 hotel rooms and some 959,000 square feet of gambling floor space.