Gaming executive Tom O’Donnell has been named president and general manager of Calder Race Course, parent company Churchill Downs Inc. announced Nov. 13. O’Donnell also will serve as a senior vice-president of CDI, the company said.
O’Donnell will be responsible for the overall direction, administration and coordination of all activities at Calder Race Course, including gaming and racing operations, according to a news release.
He comes to CDI from Heller Gaming & Leisure, where he served as an advisor and consultant on casino operations, development and strategic acquisition evaluation. O’Donnell also has more than 18 years of experience with Harrah’s Entertainment.
“Calder is about to embark on an exciting new chapter in its history as planning continues for its future slot facility,” said O’Donnell in the release. “I look forward to working with the outstanding employees at Calder Race Course and the management team of CDI as we continue to build on the excellent foundation already laid for the success of racing and gaming in Miami.”
Prior to his association with Heller Gaming & Leisure, O’Donnell worked with Harrah’s Entertainment in a variety of executive positions, including Gulf Coast region president, where he oversaw the rebuilding of Harrah’s gaming and hotel operations following Hurricane Katrina; senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Hotel, the Showboat Casino Hotel and Harrah’s Joliet Casino; and operations leader on the Caesars/Harrah’s integration team during the merger of those two companies.
O’Donnell, who also worked for Oneida Indian Nation and Sands Hotel Casino, holds a master’s degree from Norwich University in Vermont and a bachelor’s degree in education from Hillsdale College in Michigan.
A slots facility is in the planning stages for Calder, although CDI officials have not released a timetable for development.
CDI said the search for a general manager of racing operations at Calder is ongoing.