J. Brin Gibson Named Nevada Gaming Control Board Chair, Regulator Monitors COVID-19 Spike

Posted on: November 11, 2020, 09:48h. 

Last updated on: November 11, 2020, 10:16h.

J. Brin Gibson was appointed chair and executive director of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) this week, as the regulatory panel continues to confront COVID-19’s impact on the state’s casino industry.

Gibson will lead GCB efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus and enforce other agency priorities at casinos
J. Brin Gibson was named the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s new chair. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A gaming regulation veteran, Gibson will take over the post next Tuesday. He faces an increasing number of virus cases. To curb the health risk, the GCB has set up and keeps on monitoring  health and safety guidelines for gaming properties.

There were more than 1,300 new cases identified on Monday and seven additional COVID-19 deaths in Nevada. A promising vaccine likely will not be available for months.

As of Tuesday, Nevada has seen a total of 112,304 coronavirus cases and 1,859 deaths. Monday marked the highest recorded number of hospitalizations since mid-August, effectively erasing progress made over the past three months, Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, reported in a tweet on Tuesday.

Sisolak is advising Nevadans to voluntarily remain at home for the next two weeks under his “Stay at Home 2.0” advisory — which, for now, does not put new restrictions on casinos. But gaming properties are likely to face increased scrutiny for health compliance.

Already, some 12,000 site visits were undertaken by GCB agents in recent months to ensure regulatory compliance.

In his new post, Gibson will lead GCB efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus and enforce other agency priorities at casinos. His related experience includes working as general counsel to the governor for about a year. He also was head of the gaming division in the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

As chief of gaming, he was the top legal counsel to the GCB, Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC), and Nevada Gaming Policy Committee. In that position, he handled legal actions against Nevada casinos brought by the GCB and NGC.

Gibson also was an attorney at the Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck law firm, which has an office in Las Vegas. He focused on such practice areas as gaming law and government relations.

Praise Comes from Nevada Gaming Lawyers

As news of his appointment spread this week, Gibson got many compliments from attorneys who worked with him in various settings.

Gregory A. Brower, a former Nevada US Attorney, assistant director at the FBI, and a Nevada state legislator who worked with Gibson at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, called him a “great choice” adding that he is an “experienced gaming lawyer, a very good manager, and a great person.”

He understands the gaming industry and will be both a tough regulator and advocate for the industry,” Brower said to Casino.org about Gibson.

Immediately, the GCB will continue to address “public health challenges presented by the pandemic,” Brower said. “Beyond that, regulatory challenges include state budget pressures and rapidly changing technology.”

Also, A.G. Burnett, a former chair of the GCB who is now a gaming attorney at the Nevada-based McDonald Carano law firm, recalled he worked with Gibson “when he served as our gaming counsel, and I know him to have high integrity and to be a very good lawyer.

Brin is a native Nevadan who is familiar with not only gaming, but the inner workings of state government and the GCB. He is not a stranger to the issues facing our state economy, having served as the governor’s counsel during the pandemic,” Burnett told Casino.org.

When asked about the appointment, Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, added that Gibson was a chief deputy attorney representing the GCB.

“This is a great advantage to a new board chairman, because he is already familiar with how the regulatory system works and can more easily accumulate to the demands of the position,” Cabot told Casino.org. “This will be essential, as the industry still faces the economic and safety challenges presented by a pandemic whose impact is likely to get worse before a vaccine is widely available.”

Looking ahead, Cabot speculates that “regulators may be called upon to examine and revise casino operating procedures.” Also, the financial impact from coronavirus “may require increased scrutiny over the ability of some operators to sustain operations.”

Morgan Joins Fidelity National Financial Board

Gibson was appointed to replace Sandra Douglas Morgan. She stepped down on Oct. 29 after serving as chair since January 2019, and led the GCB’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Morgan is poised to become a member of the board of directors of Fidelity National Financial, based in Florida, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

In recent weeks, she was in the news as the GCB and NGC investigated and fined Boyd Gaming $300,000 for the “wrongful arrest” of a Fremont Hotel & Casino slot player who was accused of stealing another player’s credits.