Ever since the Nevada Gaming Control Board was founded in 1955, it’s always been run by a chairman – until now. The state government agency charged with the regulation of casinos has announced that it recently appointed its first chairwoman. The board has elected Republican State Senator Becky Harris to take over the role from A.G. Burnett. The outgoing chairman resigned in December 2017 to take on a role at McDonald Carano, a law firm based in Reno.
Burnett was an attorney before being elected to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and is now returning to his former role, only in a different area. He’ll be bringing his expertise and knowledge from the Gaming Control Board to McDonald Carano’s gaming and administrative law group.
He’ll be required to wait one year before he can represent any clients in front of the Nevada regulators, so there’s no immediate conflict of interest. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, the outgoing chairman explained that he’d achieved a lot in his time with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and was now ready for a new challenge. He told the Journal:
"When I was appointed, I drew up a list of things I wanted to get done. Internet gambling. Nightclub regulations. Daily fantasy sports. We checked all of them off. When I was reappointed, I made another list. Skill-based gaming. Hybrids. Marijuana use. On that last one, we drew a line on it and it wasn’t easy. And we checked all those off."
Burnett’s replacement, Becky Harris, has been a Nevada Senator for over two years before accepting her new appointment. The new chairwoman commented:
“To be appointed to the finest regulatory system in the world is a tremendous responsibility. I’m grateful for the trust and confidence Governor Sandoval has placed in me, and I’m committed to serving with determination and honour."
Yet there was also some sadness in leaving her old role behind. She continued:
“I will miss serving in the Nevada State Senate and working for the constituents in District 9, but my public service to the citizens of Nevada will certainly go on in this new full-time role.”
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced Harris’ appointment, saying:
“Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure is the best in the world and it is imperative that the public servants who serve on this commission are beyond reproach and willing to make difficult decisions.”
Sandoval continued to sing her praises, talking about how she worked towards better rights for gamers. He stated:
“Becky has served her community as an elected official and worked to pass legislation which codified the e-gaming decision made by the Gaming Policy Committee. This authorised e-gaming competitions, helped spur innovation in gaming, and has ensured Nevada remains on the forefront of new opportunities in one of our state’s oldest industries. I am confident she will continue to serve with distinction and integrity.”
While Harris has made history as the Gaming Control Board’s first chairwoman, she is only the second female to be appointed to the board in its history. Until Harris’ appointment, Patricia Becker was the only woman ever to have served on the Nevada Gaming Control Board, from 1983 to 1985.
During her two years there, she worked with a federal legal team to bring about the first successful prosecution of a slot-cheating ring. Later in her career, Becky was Chief of Staff to Nevada Governor Bob Miller, and now sits on the board of Global Gaming Women as their Education Committee Co-Chair.
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