Casino Gambling

Former GM of IP Casino goes to the top at Hard Rock

Jon Lucas
Jon Lucas

Employees lined up and applauded Jon Lucas the day he left IP Casino and now he’s worked his way to the top at Hard Rock International.

The company announced Wednesday that Lucas is chief operating officer for Hard Rock International, overseeing operations, marketing, legal, finance, design and construction. He will report directly to Chairman and CEO Jim Allen, who spoke at last month’s Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lucas became manager of IP Casino just two months before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The IP was the first casino to reopen in South Mississippi after the storm and operations continued while the resort was completely remodeled over the next few years.

Lucas also served on the Harrison County Tourism Commission while the group was working to create a three-county tourism promotion organization.

He left IP in 2011 when Boyd Gaming bought the casino.

He joined Hard Rock in 2013 as president of the first Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park, Ohio, where he managed site design, construction and the hiring of key executives. In less than a year, the property became the market share leader of casinos in Ohio, the company said.

Under Lucas’ leadership, the company said it acquired the Hard Rock casino and hotel rights in the western U.S. and key international markets, spearheaded casino entry into Canada and entered the hotel management sector.

Hard Rock International has venues in 75 countries, and in Hard Rock fashion, Lucas’ bio includes his accomplishments and his musical style.

“Jon’s musical taste covers a broad range of genres, led by rock and country,” the website says. “Some favorite artists include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Zac Brown Band, Allman Brothers, Eagles and Van Morrison.”

Hard Rock also promoted Dale Hipsh to senior vice president of hotel operations development and hired Sean Caffery as senior vice president casino development for Hard Rock International.

“As we continue to grow the Hard Rock brand beyond our existing footprint, we look to Lucas, Hipsh and Caffery to lead the expansion process with exciting, new projects in the Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos pipeline, such as Atlantic City, New York City, Shenzhen and London,” Allen said.