New GCB Chair On Wynn Investigation, Weed In Casinos And More
In January, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval made an historic appointment to the state's Gaming Control Board.
State Senator Becky Harris became the first woman to chair the regulatory body, and only the second woman – ever – to sit on the Board.
Six months into her term, what does she make of the job?
And what does an expansion of sports betting nationally mean for Nevada's gaming industry?
"As a state senator, I had an opportunity to be on the judiciary committee. I was vice chair of that committee in 2015 and heard some gaming bills and knew that I wanted to have a greater depth of knowledge with regard to gaming issues. So when the University of Nevada Las Vegas offered their LLM program [Master of Law in Gaming Law] through the law school, I knew that I wanted to be part of that program to get that knowledge that I was seeking."
"Now, after being the job for five short months, it is something different every day. There is always an issue that needs tending to. Some of them are large and some of them are small but it is an effort and a fun journey to keep up with all of the new and interesting challenges that the gaming industry has to present"
"The [governor's gaming policy committee] resolved that Nevada gaming licensees should not receive financing from or provide financing to individuals, entities or establishments that sell, cultivate or distribute marijuana. And that it is the advice of the committee that Nevada gaming licensees continue to follow all federal direction."
"There is a wide range of tools that the board can utilize anything from limiting or conditioning a license to revoking a license and we won't really know which of those tools will be utilized if any until the investigation [into Steve Wynn] is completed."
"We have gotten a huge interest from around the country with regard to regulators who are interested in providing sports betting but it's a two-fold process. First, the legislature has to pass a bill that allows for the creation of sports betting and then regulators have to create those regulations. We're actually working with legislators and regulators who expressed interest with regards to sports betting and how can it be done and Nevada has done it so well for so long they want to learn the lessons that we've learned and be able to benefit from the years of experience that we've had."
"I would love for there to be more gender parity throughout the industry as well as with regard to the board. I think that having an ability for women to see that there's a pathway becomes really, really important and critical in being able to determine what opportunities lie ahead for women in the gaming industry."
(Editor's Note: This interview originally aired in July 2018)
Becky Harris, chair, Nevada Gaming Control Board