Nevada Gaming Commission Names Retired Judge As First Chairwoman

Posted on: October 24, 2021, 09:37h. 

Last updated on: October 25, 2021, 11:39h.

The incoming chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) said in an interview this past week she’s eager to taking on the “new challenge” the regulatory body presents.

Togliatti NGC
Former Clark County Judge Jennifer Togliatti testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2020 as a candidate for a federal judgeship. Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed her to the state’s Gaming Commission, where she will serve as its first female chair. (Image: Senate Judiciary Committee)

Jennifer Togliatti spoke with Howard Stutz of The Nevada Independent on Thursday. The former Clark County deputy prosecutor and state district judge was appointed by Gov. Steve Sisolak to the chair on Oct. 8. She will be the first female to ever lead the NGC.

Togliatti said she considered it an honor to be the first chairwoman in the NGC’s history.

While not having experience in gaming law, Togliatti said she reached out to colleagues who work in the field and received their encouragement. She applied for the position online, according to the article.

I feel like I still have a lot to contribute in serving the public and I felt like this was an interesting and new challenge for me,” she told the news site.

The commission is set to meet on Thursday. However, Togliatti will not officially become the chair until next month. Commissioner Steven Cohen will serve as acting chair at this week’s hearing.

Previously Considered for Federal Judge Position

Nearly two years ago, Togliatti was nominated by then-President Donald Trump to serve as a federal judge in Nevada’s US district court. That’s after US District Judge James Mahan assumed senior status in June 2018. The state’s two Democratic US senators backed her nomination. However, the US Senate failed to approve her before its term ended on Jan. 2.

Togliatti served as a judge for Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District, which covers Clark County, for 16 years before retiring on Jan. 2, 2019. From 2011 to 2014, she served as its chief judge.

According to a biography, her judicial experience includes overseeing a settlement conference for civil cases tied to a hepatitis C outbreak in 2007-08. She also served as the judge who helped MGM Resorts International and construction firms reach a settlement after 15 months of negotiations on The Harmon Hotel, a project scrubbed in mid-construction after inspections found numerous flaws.

After retiring from the local bench, Togliatti moved into private mediation with Advanced Resolution Management. One of her big cases as a mediator was to help reach an $800 million settlement between MGM Resorts and victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting, which occurred on Oct. 1, 2017.

As the commission is a part-time role, the article stated Togliatti will be able to maintain her job as a private mediator.

Sisolak Appoints Two to Nevada Gaming Commission

Sisolak made two appointments to the commission on Oct. 8. The other was former Nevada state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. The three-term Reno Republican stepped down from his term-limited seat prior to the Democratic governor’s announcement. He was not eligible to run for the seat next year.

“Both Judge Togliatti and Sen. Kieckhefer are highly qualified appointments to these positions, and I am glad to have them continue their service to the Silver State by serving on the Nevada Gaming Commission,” Sisolak said in a statement. “This commission is the gold standard of gaming regulation, and these appointments will continue to honor that.”

Appointments to the commission are for four years.

Togliatti and Kieckhefer will replace former Chairman John Moran, who retired in September, and Deborah Fuetsch, who resigned in May.

The gaming commission is one of two state regulatory bodies that oversee gaming in Nevada. The governor appoints members to both the five-seat NGC and the three-seat Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

The NGCB was established in 1955. It conducts investigations, reviews license applications, and oversees the collection of gaming taxes. It also enacts policies that enforce state gaming laws and regulations.

Four years later, state lawmakers created the NGC. The commission acts on the NGCB’s recommendations for licensing applications, giving it the authority to approve or deny individuals and companies seeking to work in gaming.

The NGCB also serves as a prosecutorial agency when it believes a licensee has committed a violation. In those instances, it’s the NGC that serves as the adjudicator to determine if any punishment is warranted.