A second-generation casino operator, renowned philanthropist, and one of the most effective and respected executives in the gaming industry, Diana Bennett serves as Chairman of the Board and is the co-founder of Paragon Gaming, a developer and operator of gaming-based properties. Under the leadership of Ms. Bennett and co-founder Scott Menke, Paragon has grown its reputation and footprint with the successful management of properties in North America and the development of its premier international destination, Parq Vancouver.
A native of Glendale, Arizona who grew up in northern and southern Nevada, Ms. Bennett attended college at Arizona State University before beginning her hospitality career in Las Vegas, where she rose quickly from an entry-level to a management position at Flamingo Las Vegas. Ms. Bennett later joined her father, industry icon William Bennett, at Circus Circus Las Vegas, and, as an executive of Circus Circus Enterprises’ leadership team, she led the development and operation of several landmark gaming properties, including Luxor Las Vegas and Excalibur Hotel and Casino. She also led the merger of the executive staffs of the Edgewater Hotel-Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, and the Colorado Belle Hotel-Casino; and directed the purchase, takeover, and integration of new management into one of the timeless icons of the Las Vegas Strip, the Sahara Hotel and Casino, acquired by the Bennett family’s Gordon Gaming division in 1995.
Throughout her career Ms. Bennett has been responsible for management of multiple casino operations and has been licensed in multiple jurisdictions. Recognized as an expert in establishing gaming systems, she served as President and Chief Operating Office of Casino Data Systems (CDS), where she planned, grew and managed one of the major gaming manufacturers in North America.
Following the formation of Paragon Gaming in 2000 and the acquisition of multiple properties in the United States and Canada, Ms. Bennett spearheaded development of the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, and led revitalization efforts at Las Vegas’ Riviera Hotel. The successful turnaround at the legacy resort can be credited to Ms. Bennett’s philosophy of the “circle of service,” which empowers employees to address issues of concern without the burden of bureaucracy, forming a personal connection with the customer and ensuring a positive experience at every level of the organization. Under Ms. Bennett’s stewardship, Paragon expanded further, assuming operations at Westgate Las Vegas and the Hooters Casino-Hotel, acquiring the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe, and developing Parq Vancouver in the heart of that city’s thriving entertainment district.
As President of the Bennett Family Foundation, Ms. Bennett has become one of Southern Nevada’s most recognized philanthropists, inspiring employees and leading charitable efforts from Paragon’s gaming properties and the foundation to support youth and women’s organizations, educational and health initiatives, and the arts; including Three Square Food Bank, Noah’s Animal House at the Shade Tree Women’s Shelter, Communities in Schools of Nevada, Child Focus, and The Children’s Heart Foundation. She is the Vice Chair for the UNLV Foundation and has a fellowship in her name at the University, and sits on the board of Noah’s Animal House. Ms. Bennett has also served as chair of the National Children’s Miracle Network Telethon for the University Medical Center Foundation, has served on the board of the I Have a Dream Foundation, was a founding board member of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and is a member of the Black Mountain Institute Foundation at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Ms. Bennett has also been recognized as one of the Outstanding Women of Nevada since 1994, and in 2007 was named as one of the Top Ten Great Women of Gaming in the United States. In 2017, Ms. Bennett received her industry’s highest honor with her induction into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame.
Scott Menke serves as Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Paragon Gaming, in which he applies his more than 30 years of hospitality experience to the company’s growing portfolio of destination properties. Recognized throughout the gaming industry as a visionary developer, executive, and operator, Mr. Menke has managed Paragon’s successful acquisitions of properties in the western United States and Canada, and he has personally overseen development of the company’s premier international destination, Parq Vancouver.
A Glendale, Arizona native who moved to Southern Nevada in his early teens, Mr. Menke began his career by pursuing a hospitality degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an internship at the Circus Circus Las Vegas, where he was mentored by legendary gaming executive William Bennett. Upon graduating in 1987 with his degree in hospitality, Mr. Menke took on a management role at the newly opened Colorado Belle resort in Laughlin, Nevada, and later served in a similar capacity at the neighboring Edgewater Laughlin. Successful tenures at both properties led to Mr. Menke’s appointment to the executive team at Circus Circus Enterprises, a role in which he reported directly to Mr. Bennett. Mr. Menke coordinated and oversaw development efforts of Las Vegas’ Excalibur and Luxor properties, which included a combined 10,000 hotel rooms and together became two of the most successful themed destination resorts on the famed Las Vegas Strip.
As a senior member of Mr. Bennett’s team, Mr. Menke structured the acquisition of the Sahara Hotel and Casino by Gordon Gaming within a total transaction period of under 6 months, and played a key role in the redevelopment and transition of the property to a new management team. In 1997, he led the successful reorganization of the landmark Oasis Hotel/Casino on behalf of Mr. Si Redd, the founder of International Gaming Technology.
The launch of Paragon Gaming in 2000 saw Mr. Menke partnering with renowned gaming executive Diana Bennett, and with their combined experience and education the two successfully guided Paragon’s early efforts to acquire and revitalize hotel and casino properties in California, Nevada, and Canada. In 2006, the company achieved its largest success at that time with the development and opening the $180 million River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta. Paragon, which earned a reputation for successful turnarounds of distressed properties, would later acquire the Riviera Hotel and Casino, Westgate, and Hooters Casino-Hotel in Las Vegas, as well as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe, and the Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, British Columbia. These successes would lead to the development of Parq Vancouver, an international entertainment destination in the heart of that city’s thriving entertainment district.
A respected philanthropist, Mr. Menke is a member of the UNLV Foundation, a supporter of the Nevada Children’s Heart Association, and has been honored for his support of Boys Town Nevada.
Rob Oseland serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming, a role in which he applies more than two decades of experience to the company’s portfolio of owned and operated North American hospitality and gaming properties. Recognized as one of the most experienced operators in his industry, Mr. Oseland has held critical leadership roles in the opening and operations of several of Las Vegas most notable properties, including The Mirage, The Bellagio, and those owned by Wynn Resorts.
Immediately prior to joining Paragon Gaming, Mr. Oseland served as Chief Operating Officer for Alon Las Vegas, working to develop an integrated gaming resort on the famed Las Vegas Strip. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer of SLS Las Vegas during its transition from the Sahara Hotel and Casino.
Much of Mr. Oseland’s expertise was honed at Wynn Resorts, Ltd., where he held a number of positions vital to the launch of the company’s hospitality and gaming brand. In 2001, he joined the nascent Wynn Resorts as Chief Operating Officer, focusing on market analysis, concept development, and building the company’s senior team.
When Wynn Las Vegas opened in 2005, Mr. Oseland was named Executive Vice President of Casino Operations & Marketing, thus taking leadership of the property’s highly successful casino division and its team of more than 2,000 employees. Subsequently, Mr. Oseland served as Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for the design, development, and execution of Encore, which comprised some 4 million square feet of hotel, casino, restaurant, nightclub, and retail space.
Mr. Oseland holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Mr. Cahill is a principal of Paragon and a founding member of the management team. He has over thirty years of experience in all phases of real estate development, with a special emphasis on pre-construction project management. He has personally directed the planning and approval of such Southern California landmark projects as the Pasadena Marketplace (Old Town, Pasadena), Pierside Redevelopment (Huntington Beach, California), and Fess Parker’s Park Plaza Hotel (Santa Barbara, California).
In the mid 1980’s, Mr. Cahill transitioned from representing developer interests to representing major landowners, with a client focus on the real estate portfolios of family trusts. He has successfully managed the strategic planning and entitlements of real estate assets for such major land owners in California and Hawaii as the Fess Parker Family Trust (Santa Barbara), the William D. Wright Family Trust (Santa Barbara), the Linda Page Family Trust (Santa Barbara), and the James S. Greenwell Family Trust (Lanihau Partners LP/Palani Ranch, Hawaii). His ability to identify and define process and seek resolution to difficult land use issues resulted in, among other matters, his participation as a facilitator in major disputes between property owners and governments, such as the approval of development of Nichols Ranch (Ventura, California).
Mr. Cahill’s company, Beijing, Inc., has been under contract to Paragon Gaming LLC since its inception. He brings to Paragon the knowledge and ability to deal with complex entitlement and approval processes, and the unique experience of successfully managing diverse, intergenerational family trust interests, which often parallel the concerns and goals of Paragon’s First Nation partners. At Paragon, Mr. Cahill is responsible for securing all project entitlements and development approvals, including designations, environmental approvals, infrastructure and essential services, and demonstrating compliance with the real estate and development aspects of casino facility licenses. Additionally, Mr. Cahill is a member of the board of directors of both the Enoch Paragon LP and the Alexis Paragon LP, and serves as secretary to those governance bodies.
Dennis Amerine, CPA, brings over 30 years of experience in the gaming industry to Paragon Gaming, much of which was with Nevada’s State Gaming Control Board, the primary enforcement arm of the State’s casino regulatory system.
Mr. Amerine began his career as an entry-level agent in the Gaming Control Board’s Audit Division in 1977. He was promoted to Chief of the Audit Division in 1985 and was responsible for nearly 100 professional staff accountants statewide. In 1987, Mr. Amerine was appointed by the Governor as a member of the three-member State Gaming Control Board. During his tenure as a member of the State Gaming Control Board, he spearheaded significant changes to Nevada’s regulations. He was responsible for major revisions to slot machine regulation, accounting regulations including the development of minimum internal control standards, regulations concerning race and sports books and was directly involved in the drafting and implementation of Regulation 6A which governed currency transaction reporting.
Mr. Amerine has been an advisor to the U.S. Department of the Treasury since 1999 in the area of gaming regulation and control with emphasis on prevention of financial crimes, including money laundering in casinos. In his role, Mr. Amerine assists foreign governments in developing gaming regulatory structures to deter and detect financial crimes and to ensure that casinos are operated in accordance with international standards. To date, these jurisdictions include Bulgaria, Kosovo, Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama, Haiti and several Eastern Caribbean countries.
He provides invaluable insight into the regulatory framework of Paragon Gaming’s projects.
Mr. Amerine is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and an Advisory Board Member for the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.
Steve Manzanares is a key member of the decision-making team and works closely with other team leaders to encourage growth and pursue improvements to operational processes. Additionally, he is responsible for Paragon’s budgetary and accounting functions as well as serving as a liaison between senior management teams.
After graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Steve proceeded to acquire over 15 years of accounting and financial experience in the gaming industry, in which he has occupied multiple management roles in accounting and finance at The Mirage, Bellagio, MGM Resorts International and Treasure Island, in addition to serving as Treasure Island’s Chief Financial Officer. As Treasure Island’s CFO, Steve was responsible for all finance and accounting functions including the responsibility for reporting the property’s financial results.
Mr. Behrens is a Cornell University trained, lodging & gaming professional with twenty years’ experience. He is recognized for utilizing a deep understanding of hospitality operations to drive sound planning and fiscally responsible decisions.
Mr. Behrens’ is proficient in developing annual operating budgets, forecasts, and strategic plans including all casino, hotel, food, beverage, and other operating departments. He has composed and maintained management reporting tools for several major casino resorts. He also performs ad-hoc analysis in support of operating departments including profitability analysis, labor analysis, hours of operations, and menu engineering.
Ms. Jayanathan’s twenty-five years of hospitality experience run the gamut of all aspects of operations and management. Ms. Jayanathan has developed and implemented brand standards for some of the premier hotel brands including St. Regis, Disney, Wynn, Ritz Carlton, and Marriott.
Ms. Jayanathan has direct experience managing and preparing budgets, forecasts and payroll of small and large organizations with a key focus in Rooms, Housekeeping and Laundry management. As a highly proactive leader she has managed multiple projects while also developing and mentoring direct reports to reach their potential; while also establishing and maintaining a partnership with vendors, senior executives, department heads and union leaders to produce the greatest results.
As Asset Manager for Paragon Gaming, Ms. Jayanathan keen eye for detail is deployed to insure that all of Paragon’s properties maintain the highest standards. She performs regular site inspections, brand standard audits, evaluates and approves capital expenditures, oversees facility improvements, and mentors managers and staff.