Burnett Stepping Down as Chairman of Nevada Gaming Control Board

Posted on: December 12, 2017, 01:04h. 

Last updated on: December 12, 2017, 01:08h.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett announced on Monday that he was resigning from his post to take a job in the private sector. Burnett had served on the Gaming Control Board since 2011, and been chairman since 2012.

A.G. Burnett NGCB Chairman
A.G. Burnett has served with the Nevada Gaming Control Board since 2011, taking the role of chairman in 2012. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Burnett’s tenure on the board was noteworthy for the number of changes he brought to Nevada’s gaming landscape. In a telephone interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he noted several of his accomplishments that came over his two appointments to the panel.

“Internet gambling. Nightclub regulations. Daily fantasy sports. We checked all of them off,” Burnett said. “When I was reappointed, I made another list. Skill-based gaming. Hybrids. Marijuana use…and we checked all those off.”

Burnett said that his decision was in part a choice made for his family. He’ll be taking a position with McDonald Carano, a law firm based in Reno. The post, which is in the firm’s gaming and administrative law group, will allow him to take some financial pressure off his wife, who is a teacher.

Burnett’s Legacy: New Options for Players, Operators

While may Gaming Control Board decisions are about behind-the-scenes affairs, Burnett’s most notable accomplishments were ones that gamblers could see tangible results from.

That started in 2013, when Nevada became the first state to regulate online poker within its borders, a move that has proven particularly popular when thousands of players descend on Las Vegas each summer for the World Series of Poker.

In 2015, Burnett and other regulators drew up the rules for the skill-based games that have slowly trickled out onto gaming floors this year. While the various possibilities for these new games created challenges for regulators, they were seen as a way to attract a younger audience of millennials who generally avoided playing slot machines.

“This is the most important regulation I’ve worked on in 17 years,” Burnett said at the time. “This is a turning point that could reinvigorate the slot machine floor.”

2015 Decision Forced DFS Sites to Leave Nevada

In 2015, Burnett made the decision that daily fantasy sports operations constituted gambling under Nevada’s laws. While the Gaming Control Board told DraftKings, FanDuel, and other DFS operators that they could continue to operate if they applied for sports betting licenses, that would only have covered land-based operations, and the sites have so far ceased operations in the state.

Burnett’s tenure has not been without controversy. Earlier this year, he faced criticism for his decision to secretly record a conversation with Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. The conversation dealt with a request from Laxalt that regulators file a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. in a civil lawsuit against the company. Burnett said that the incident did not play into his decision to resign.

In a press release announcing the resignation, Governor Brian Sandoval praised Burnett’s service, saying he was widely respected throughout the gaming industry.

“A.G. was a fair and thoughtful regulator who impressively balanced the roles of top gaming watchdog with ensuring that our state’s leading industry maintained flexibility to innovate and achieve forward progress,” Sandoval said. “I know that he will look back on his career in public service with pride.”