Penn National Gaming finds successor to general counsel
Harper Ko is set to join Nasdaq-listed Penn National Gaming, effective January 1, 2021, as executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary.
Ko is moving to Penn National from Everi Holdings, where she has been executive vice president, chief legal officer, general counsel and secretary since 2017.
Her arrival will follow the retirement on December 31 of company veteran Carl Sottosanti, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. Sottosanti joined Penn National in 2003 as vice president of legal and business affairs and deputy general counsel.
In that role he helped lead the legal and regulatory work relating to the company’s acquisitions of Hollywood Casino Corporation and Argosy Gaming, each of which doubled the size of Penn National at the time. He also assisted in overseeing Penn National’s corporate governance, in addition to labor and employment matters.
In 2014 he was promoted to executive vice president and general counsel and has since advised on matters including the acquisition and integration of Pinnacle Entertainment and Penn National’s investment in Barstool Sports.
Before her time at Everi, Ko was deputy general counsel for gaming at Scientific Games Corporation. Between November 2014 and December 2017 she led the legal integration of Bally Gaming, SHFL entertainment and WMS Gaming into the Scientific Games gaming division and was an adviser to the executive management team on commercial transactions, customer and third-party issues and regulatory compliance and litigation matters.
She joined Scientific Games after its acquisition of Bally Gaming, where she was assistant general counsel starting in November 2007. Before that, Ko was a contract attorney with Harrah’s Operating Company and associate corporate counsel for Aristocrat Technologies. She began her career in the gaming industry as staff counsel for WMS Gaming.
Penn National owns, operates or has ownership interests in 41 gaming and racing properties in 19 states and video gaming terminal operations with a focus on slot machines. It also offers live sports betting at its properties in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
‘Harper brings a wealth of expertise regarding the industry’s complex regulatory and compliance requirements that will serve us well as we continue to execute our growth strategies across our land-based, interactive and sports betting platforms. We’re excited to add someone of her caliber to our team,’ Penn National president and CEO Jay Snowden says in a statement.
‘Throughout his career at Penn National, Carl has been known for his tireless work ethic, dogged determination and fierce advocacy in support of our company’s interests. He has been a trusted personal adviser and a consummate teammate, and while he’ll be leaving behind some big shoes to fill, I’m confident Harper will do a great job in carrying on the standard of excellence Carl has established for our legal department.’