American Gambling Awards Finalists: Regulator of the Year

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American Gambling Awards Finalists: Regulator of the Year
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The American Gambling Awards celebrate the outstanding work of the companies, organizations, executives and influencers working to responsibly grow the regulated online American casino and sports betting markets.

Leading up to the awards ceremony in November, Gambling.com is profiling the finalists.

Here are the finalists for Regulator of the Year.

Anna Marin Russell, Ohio Casino Control Commission

Anna Marin Russell has been with the Ohio Casino Control Commission for nearly 11 years in various legal roles. 

Today, she’s director of licensing and investigations and senior legal counsel. A nationally recognized expert, she appeared on the mergers and acquisitions panel set up by the National Council of Legislators from the Gaming States. 

This year, with Russell and others guiding the regulatory process and maintaining high standards of integrity and excellence, Ohio sports betting has generated more than $576 million in taxable revenue.

Henry Williams, Michigan Gaming Control Board

Henry Williams has been the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board since May 2021, just months after online sports betting went live in the state in January 2021.

As a national model of gaming success, Michigan has double-digit online sports-betting platforms in a state where pro and college athletic teams have large and enthusiastic followings. Michigan's offerings extend beyond sports, including events such as the Oscars.

Today, Michigan is considered one of the more gambling-friendly states, offering legal online casino play, in addition to traditional sports betting.

Jamie Eads, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

Named executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in January 2023, Jamie Eads has been with the KHRC for 15 years. 

In various roles, which included interim executive director before the governor named to the executive directorship, Eads was responsible for administering several popular incentive programs that boosted the horse racing industry in Kentucky. She oversaw $16 million in breeder incentives and $47 million in state purse development funds. 

Kentucky successfully implemented in-person sports betting at brick-and-mortar locations on Sept. 7 and will launch online sports betting on Sept. 28. 

Steve Durrell, Kansas Lottery

Named the executive director of the Kansas Lottery in January 2019 by Governor Laura Kelly, Durrell oversaw the launch of online sports betting in Kansas in September 2022. 

In August 2023, Kansas had a sports betting handle of $94.4 million, an 18.4% increase month-over-month. Today, there are six online sports betting apps in Kansas, with as many as 12 allowed per the state law.

During his time at the Lottery, Durrell has written rules and regulations, drafted and negotiated agency contracts and managed day-to-day operations. 

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