Joe Lombardo (R), Nevada's new governor, made his maiden first crucial decision by choosing Kirk Hendrick to chair the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The governor selected the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) chief legal officer for a four-year term.
The former Clark County sheriff took office several days ago and promptly fulfilled the NGCB as it was a pressing matter in his office. Lombardo won Nevada's gubernatorial election in November 2022 after defeating Steve Sisolak, a Democratic incumbent.
J. Brin Gibson resigned as the NGCB's chair shortly after Lombardo's victory. He stated that he wanted to seek new opportunities outside public service. This prompted Sisolak to choose Brittnie Watkins as the NGCB's interim chair.
Lombardo revealed on January 11 that Hendrick will permanently replace Gibson and assume his role in a few days. The governor praised Hendrick for his legal background, dedication to Nevada's gaming, and business acumen. He believes that the new chair will perform his leadership role well.
Hendrick is an attorney and he led Nevada's attorney general's gaming division over two decades ago. Yet, he resumed private practice in 2001 and the UFC later hired him in 2002 as its general counsel. UFC promoted him to be its chief operating officer.
It appointed him to be the executive vice president and later the chief legal officer. Hendrick left UFC in 2019 and founded Hendrick Sports & Entertainment.
What Are Hendrick's New Responsibilities?
Nevada's gaming industry makes a huge contribution to its economy. Local casinos hire the highest number of Nevadans and generate a high annual tax revenue compared to other sectors.
The NGCB monitors all gaming operations in the Silver State. It comprises three full-time members who the governor selects for four-year periods and appoints one of them as the board's chair.
The gaming board has over 400 workers. It performs different functions but the main role is to protect the gaming industry's stability through enforcing regulations and laws, licensing, and investigations.
The NGCB collects fees and taxes and maintains people's confidence in casinos. It also implements state laws and policies besides making frequent regulatory recommendations to the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). The NGC constitutes five members and it has a full mandate on licensing, approving, limiting, denying, suspending, revoking, or conditioning any casino license.
The NGCB's Reorganization
Besides Hendrick's appointment, Phil Katsaros, an NGCB member, confirmed leaving the gaming board later this month as his term will end on January 28. Sisolak appointed him in April 2019.
Katsaros made the revelation at January 11's NGCB meeting and stated that he isn't interested in another four-year term. Sisolak also selected Watkins to the board in April 2021 and her term will end in 2025. Even so, Katsaro's departure will prompt Lombardo to choose a new NGCB member soon.
The NGCB members are Nevada's full-time employees and they get hefty pay. For instance, Gibson's base salary in 2021 was $142,961. Yet, his total compensation package increased to $243,544 after adding incentives and benefits.