Nevada Gambling Regulator Names Brittnie Watkins As New Chairperson 

Written By Marc Meltzer on November 17, 2022

Outgoing Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chairman J. Brin Gibson is resigning from his position at the end of November. Control board member Dr. Brittnie Watkins will replace Gibson on Dec. 1.

Watkins will take on the chair position along with Gibson’s other role as executive director. Prior to working joining the NGCB in April, Watkins was Sisolak’s general counsel from January 2019 until January 2020.

Watkins started her public service roles after practicing complex commercial litigation as an attorney. Her areas of expertise included different types of hotel and gaming litigation at both the trial and appellate levels.

Gibson was appointed as chairman of the control board in November 2020 and will exit after two years. He will search for a new professional opportunity.

Previous chairwoman and executive director Sandra Douglas Morgan resigned from her duties at the NGCB with a similar plan in 2020. She’s now the president of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Sisolak commented on the changes:

“I am grateful to Brin’s steady leadership at the gaming control board over the last two years, and his continued counsel and friendship to me. We wish him and his family nothing but the best for Brin’s next chapter.

“I am grateful that Brittnie Watkins has agreed to continue the incredible and important work at the gaming control boardoard. She is more than ready for this role, and I am excited to see her work.”

Changes coming for Nevada gaming board in 2023

Expect to see more changes at the NGCB in a few months as Nevada’s leadership changes in 2023. Watkins’ appointment as chair of the NGCB should be a short one.

The incoming governor, Joe Lombardo, will make a decision on a permanent replacement for Gibson after he is sworn in as governor in January.

There could be an entirely new NGCB next year. Fellow board member Philip Katsaros’ term at the NGCB expires at the end of January.

It’s entirely possible that there will be a completely new NGCB in February.

First order of business for Nevada gambling

Watkins and Katsaros will be the only two board members to hear the December agenda for the NGCB.

The duo will likely have to approve the change of operations of The Mirage from MGM Resorts to Hard Rock International. The latter operations of the property from MGM Resorts last year.

Hard Rock already has a president in waiting for The Mirage. Both companies expect the sale to close before the year is over. MGM Resorts is already alerting its customers know how to prepare for operational changes.

It’s likely that Hard Rock will disclose some of its plans for the future of The Mirage during its meetings with the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) and NGCB next month.

Purpose of the NGCB

The NGCB is a governmental agency focused on Nevada’s gaming industry. The board protects gaming customers and it ensures the state receives appropriate tax payments from operators.

The board governs the industry through strict regulation of all people, locations, practices, associations, and related activities in gaming companies. Overall, the goal of the Board is to ensure that anyone associated with a gaming company in Nevada is following the laws.

This is done by protecting the integrity and stability of the gaming industry. The Board goes through in-depth investigative procedures, exacting licensing practices, and strict enforcement of laws and regulations holding gaming licensees.

The Board is also in charge of approving new games and technology that casinos are allowed to offer. Every month the Board and NGC meet monthly to go over new gaming employees, complaints against gaming operators, new games, and which companies can operate in the Silver State.

While the consumer-facing part of the duties is making sure gaming customers have a safe, fair and comfortable environment to gamble legally throughout the Silver State, there’s more to the job.

Since this is a governmental agency the Board is also in charge of making sure the state collects the correct taxes and fee payments. Gaming taxes are a major source of revenue for the State of Nevada.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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