O’Donnell will be responsible for the successful overall direction, administration and coordination of all activities at Calder Race Course, including gaming and racing operations. 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 over 18 years of experience with Harrah’s Entertainment.
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. He also served as chief operating officer for gaming development at Oneida Indian Nation and has worked with Sands Hotel Casino.
O’Donnell holds a master’s degree from Norwich University in Vermont and a bachelor’s degree in education from Hillsdale College in Michigan.
The search for a general manager of racing operations at Calder is ongoing.