A Familiar Tale: Borgata Atlantic City Getting New Boss – Again – In 2024

Written By David Danzis on December 20, 2023 - Last Updated on December 21, 2023
niklas rytterstrom was hired as president and chief operating officer at borgata atlantic city

The parent company of the best-performing casino in Atlantic City is shaking up the C-suite again, with the executive changes expected to take place this spring.

Niklas “Nik” Rytterstrom will become president and chief operating officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on May 1, 2024, according to MGM Resorts International. He is currently the general manager at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, a position he has held since MGM took over the property in 2022.

Travis Lunn, the current president and COO at Borgata, will head to Las Vegas. He will hold the same titles at the Mandalay Bay and Luxor casinos, effective June 1, 2024. Lunn has served as the top executive at Borgata since January 2022.

Borgata’s turnover odd for Atlantic City casinos

Rytterstrom will be the fourth person appointed to the top spot at Borgata in the last seven years. MGM assumed full control of Borgata in 2016 after buying out its 50/50 partner Boyd Gaming for $900 million.

None of the four executives MGM has appointed to lead Atlantic City’s premier casino resort has had any prior experience working in the country’s second-largest gambling market.

Executive turnover at gaming companies is commonplace, particularly among those with large multi-jurisdictional footprints, such as MGM and Caesars Entertainment.

However, the frequent (by comparison to other Atlantic City casinos) turnover at Borgata is somewhat unusual, particularly given the property’s reputation and legacy.

Borgata is a different AC casino under MGM

Since the dual summer openings of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort in 2018, Borgata’s dominance over the market has been waning.

Once an untouchable giant in the AC market, Borgata now only holds a slim lead over the two newcomers, most of which is attributable to its size advantage.

Many of the long-time Borgata executives who were responsible for its rise to the top of the Atlantic City casino revenue market under Boyd Gaming left either just before or just after MGM took full control. A good number of those high-level employees went on to help Hard Rock and Ocean capture significant market share in the last five years.

Joe Lupo, former president of Hard Rock AC (now president of the Mirage in Las Vegas), and Bill Callahan, current general manager at Ocean, both worked at Borgata for years when it was a Boyd-operated property.

Rundown on Borgata execs under MGM

Since taking over last year, Lunn has worked mostly behind the scenes, having only spoken to local media on a handful of occasions.

Prior to his arrival in Atlantic City, Lunn oversaw MGM’s two Mississippi casinos — Beau Rivage and Gold Strike (no longer an MGM property). According to the company, Lunn also headed up the MGM Grand in Las Vegas before going to the Gulf Coast.

Lunn took over for Melonie Johnson, who had the unenviable task of shepherding the casino through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Johnson came to AC from MGM National Harbor — the highest-grossing US casino outside Nevada — in 2020. Johnson is, once again, in charge of MGM National Harbor.

Marcus Glover was the first president/COO named by MGM to run Borgata. The Las Vegas-based gaming company appointed Glover in 2017, who came to AC from Mississippi. Glover is now the chief financial officer of Bally’s Corporation.

Photo by Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photo
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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