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Christopher A. Wilks


chris wilks director the hartmann groupChris possesses twenty-five years of progressive casino, real estate, and hospitality management experience specializing in analytics. The foundation of is his training was gained at the Mohegan Sun Casino. As a ‘day-one’ employee, Chris worked closely with the senior leadership of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and Mohegan Sun. During his13 years at Mohegan Sun, Chris served as a Senior Analyst, Manager and Director in the Food & Beverage division before moving on to Finance, where he served four years directing corporate strategy, forecasting, mergers & acquisitions as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions.

In 2009, Chris created a boutique hospitality and casino analytics firm specializing in Decision Sciences, providing custom analysis in the form of gravity modeling, financial modeling and statistical regression to forecast revenue streams and recommend subsequent courses of action. He has advised clients such as Spectrum Gaming, The Hartmann Group, Elizabeth Blau & Associates, Gaming Market Advisors, Full House Resorts (FLL), MJM Enterprises, Todd English Enterprises and Excelsior Gaming in marketing strategy, size and scope of new casino development opportunities, new restaurants concepts and real estate acquisitions.

From 2010 through 2015, Chris was part of the Citizens Financial Group. In his role as Vice President in the Real Estate Group, Chris analyzed the real estate portfolio consisting of 8 million square feet for the purpose of formulating actionable decisions and strategies that optimized the portfolio returns.

Chris joined The Hartmann Group, LLC in 2016; he brings 25 years of experience in real estate, casino operations and corporate finance to serve the needs of our clients.

Chris has a BS in Finance from the University of Connecticut, an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and has completed post-graduate studies at Wharton and the MIT Institute for Real Estate. He lives in Southern Rhode Island with his wife and 2 daughters.

Paul Brody


Paul Brody development advisor the Hartmann GroupWith nearly two decades of service to tribal governments, as well as prior experience as a commercial and mixed-use real property developer, Paul Brody is well-informed about all aspects of financing, constructing and opening gaming facilities. Paul offers extensive interaction with Tribal Gaming Commissions, the NIGC, and state and local regulatory agencies.

As Vice President of Corporate Development of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Paul worked closely with Jeff Hartmann as he identified and evaluated new opportunities for the Mohegan Tribe and MTGA.

Prior to his position with MTGA, Brody was President and Chief Operating Officer of Excelsior Gaming LLC where he led a team effort to secure gaming management contracts, which resulted in two long-term engagements and several consulting contracts. He helped tribal governments secure both start-up and expansion financing for gaming operations and coordinated and supervised tribal, federal and state licensing for Excelsior, its key personnel, major investors and members of its board of directors.

Paul is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1974 and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics with honors in 1971. He holds a Gaming License from the States of Washington and Connecticut.

Jeffrey Avena


Jeff is a 37-year veteran of the gaming industry, with his career spanning new casino openings in Nevada, Louisiana and Connecticut. Throughout his career, he has been focused on table and gaming operations delivering exceptional operating results while driving organizational values of integrity, accountability, collaboration and recognition. Jeff has extensive experience in casino floor layout and design, product selection, placement, game performance, system analytics and operational efficiencies.

Jeff began his career in 1978 as a dealer at the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the next 37 years he worked at the Desert Inn Hotel and Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Silver Mine in Colorado, and the Belle of Baton Rouge where he was Assistant Casino Manager. For his 11 years in his role of Senior Director of Casino Operations at Hollywood Casino, Jeff was one of the senior executives responsible for the post Katrina opening and design of the gaming floor.  Prior to Hollywood Casino, Jeff was Table Games Director for Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Jeff is widely considered an expert on gaming operations and creating operational efficiencies to maximize profitability. He has held gaming licenses in Nevada, Colorado, Louisiana, Connecticut and Mississippi.

Jeff will serve as the overall casino operations leader for The Hartmann Group.

Peter Fine


Peter Fine joined Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in 2015 as a senior managing director in the Greenwich, Connecticut office. He specializes in restaurants, hospitality, and assisting developers and owners in the conceptualization, planning and implementation of unique retail, restaurant and entertainment destinations. Mr. Fineis a development and leasing executive with decades of experience in creating, managing and executing development and merchandising strategies for some of the world’s most innovative and unique retail, restaurant and entertainment projects.

During his 26-year career in real estate, Mr. Fine has worked with some of the most successful and creative operators in the entertainment and restaurant industries, such as:


• Alain Ducasse
• Bobby Flay
• Cirque du Soleil
• Disney
• House of Blues[/one_half]

• Jasper White
• Marc Murphy
• Sony
• Stephen Starr
• Todd English
• Warner Brothers [/one_half_last]

Mr. Fine began his career working with world-renowned visionary developer Sheldon Gordon, creator of ground-breaking retail projects such as The Forum Shops in Las Vegas. Collaborating on everything from strategic concept development to merchandising, leasing and execution, Mr. Fine and Mr. Gordon successfully created and developed projects that led the country in sales per square foot, including The Shops at Mohegan Sun. They also successfully collaborated on concept development and merchandising for a number of other innovative projects, including London’s Battersea Power Station; Lac Mirabel in Montreal, Quebec; and Vornado’s Madison Square Garden 34th Street portfolio.

During this time, Mr. Fine formed Fine Retail Consultants to work with both The Gordon Group and clients of its own. Fine Retail has continued to create unique development strategies for clients such as Mohegan Sun, Empire City Casino, The Rooney Family, JEMB Realty and Morris Bailey Enterprises.

Mr. Fine recently developed a platform to provide strategic planning, guidance and fulfillment for successful and emerging restaurant and entertainment concepts; it already boasts a client list of some of the best food and beverage concepts and operators in the industry. Mr. Fine’s colleagues at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank will also have the ability to leverage those relationships and experiences to help landlords create the right restaurant and entertainment mix for their owned, developing or repositioning projects, thereby maximizing their returns on their investments.

Mr. Fine graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in political economy.

Steve Karoul


Viewed as one of the leading experts in the world in all aspects of casino marketing and casino player development. Over 35 years of hands-on experience.

Steve has lived and worked in South Africa, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and the Philippines. He has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 different countries around the world, targeting the top 1% to 2% in each country representing the leaders of industry, royalty and/or wealthy, powerful, well-connected individuals in each country.

Steve is an author, lecturer and a journalist who understands all aspects of casino marketing. He writes for Global Gaming Business, Casino Enterprise Management, Urbino, Casino World, Indian Gaming, Inside Asian Gaming, Gaming for Africa and many other publications often injecting his own unique hands-on working experiences. Steve openly shares his knowledge and experience with fellow casino executives.

Steve has held gaming licenses in Connecticut, New Jersey and Nevada.