Borgata Exec to Oversee LV Strip Project

5 January 2006

ATLANTIC CITY – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "Bob Boughner was the man who brought a taste of Las Vegas to Atlantic City. Now he will take a part of Atlantic City to Las Vegas.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa executive who ran Atlantic City's first Las Vegas-style megaresort will head back to Nevada to oversee a $4 billion casino-hotel development for parent company Boyd Gaming Corp, it was announced Wednesday.

Speaking on a conference call with casino analysts, Boughner said design and construction elements from Borgata will be used as a model for the proposed Las Vegas Strip project, dubbed Echelon Place.

"We are going to, as we have done with Borgata, bring the best minds and best talent and the greatest amount of discipline and control to a very large and expensive project," he said.

Boughner is renowned for his meticulousness and eye for detail. He is credited with introducing the glitz and glamour and sexiness and sophistication of Las Vegas to Atlantic City when the resort was lumbering along as a second-rate, daytripper market dominated by aging, penny-pinching gamblers.

"We will miss him," New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chair Linda M. Kassekert said. "He was a real visionary coming to Atlantic City. He changed the atmosphere here by bringing in a wealthier and younger crowd."

Larry Mullin, Borgata's No. 2 man under Boughner, will now oversee the billion-dollar casino as its new president. Mullin said under his leadership there will be no deviation from Borgata's Boughner-inspired business strategy of focusing on hipper, cutting-edge entertainment and upscale gamblers.

"The plan here is not something that just came about. This has been a well thought out and well-executed property since we began operating," Mullin said.

Mullin noted that Boughner's "handprints are all over the property," but he mainly attributed Borgata's success to its 5,000 employees.

A 20-year veteran of the casino industry, Mullin, 43, began his career as a promotions-booth clerk at Harrah's Atlantic City. He later jumped to Donald Trump's casinos and rose through the executive ranks, eventually becoming president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and then chief operating officer of Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

Mullin left Trump to become executive vice president of marketing at Borgata in 2002, just months before the casino's grand opening in July 2003. In 2004, he was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, making him Borgata's second-in-command.

As the new president, Mullin takes over at a time when Borgata is building a $525 million expansion. The first phase, opening this spring, includes new casino space, retail shops and trendy restaurants. Construction began Wednesday on a second phase that will add an 800-room hotel tower set to open in late 2007.

Boughner, Borgata's chief executive officer, will continue to supervise the first phase of the casino's expansion. In Las Vegas, he will take the new title of president and CEO of Echelon Resorts, a Boyd Gaming subsidiary that will develop Echelon Place.

The massive complex is scheduled to open in 2010 and will replace the aging Stardust Resort & Casino, which will be torn down. It will feature four hotels with 5,300 guest rooms, 140,000 square feet of casino space and an array of retail and entertainment attractions.

Elements of Borgata will be incorporated in Echelon Place.

Boughner drew parallels between Borgata's development and possible risks shadowing Boyd's new megaproject.

"I'm reminded of a time about five years ago," Boughner said. "We were gearing up for the development of Borgata. There was some skepticism about the capacity of the Atlantic City market to grow, the dilution that would occur in the marketplace and how a new property in the market would work."

Despite lingering doubts about its success when it opened, Borgata was an overnight sensation and quickly rose to become Atlantic City's dominant casino. In the third quarter of 2005, Borgata's gross operating profit rose nearly 17 percent to an industry-leading


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copyrighted material written for and appeared exclusively in The Press of Atlantic City
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