Massachusetts Gaming Commission Names Interim Director Following Karen Wells’ Exit
Posted on: July 13, 2023, 03:38h.
Last updated on: July 13, 2023, 12:37h.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has named Executive Director Karen Wells’ replacement.
Wells last month announced her plans to depart the MGC following a 10-year stint that included leading the gaming regulator through COVID-19. Wells joined the MGC in 2013 and initially directed the agency’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau.
After two stints as interim executive director, Wells was appointed to the position permanently in September 2020. Wells’ departure became effective Wednesday after the MGC named her temporary successor.
Todd Grossman, an 11-year veteran of the MGC who has served as the gaming commission’s general counsel and who oversaw the legal department, has been named interim executive director. The executive director oversees the agency’s staff and reports to the three MGC commissioners, with Chair Cathy Judd-Stein at the top of the governmental organization.
Grossman Following Wells’ Path
A bio provided by the MGC shows that Grossman’s roots are similar to his predecessors. Like Wells, Grossman obtained his law degree, and his first job out of college was at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Wells also began her career as an assistant district attorney in Middlesex.
Grossman went on to become one of the inaugural commissioners of the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing and mixed martial arts in the commonwealth, before joining the MGC in 2012.
During his time as the MGC’s chief legal advisor, Grossman provided counsel to the commissioners and staff on a wide variety of matters relating to the oversight and administration of the MGC’s duties.
Mr. Grossman has contributed to the development and implementation of new regulations and policies governing the process by which gaming licenses were awarded and ultimately how the casinos are regulated, as well as being involved in the development of an enhanced code of ethics for commissioners and staff of the commission,” an MGC statement on Grossman’s experience detailed.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has more than 100 employees who work to “create a fair, transparent, and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law,” the MGC mission statement reads.
The MGC commissioners during their July 12 meeting voted in favor of designating Grossman as the interim executive director. He will also continue with his role as general counsel. The MGC has begun a nationwide search to find a permanent successor for Wells.
Wells’ successor will have big shoes to fill. During her time as executive director of the MGC Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, Wells oversaw the opening of each of the state’s three commercial brick-and-mortar casinos.
Plainridge Park, the slots-only casino, opened in 2015. The commonwealth’s two resort casinos, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor, respectively opened in August 2018 and June 2019.
The investigations team had a monumental task in considering Wynn Resorts’ casino license after the sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn were brought to light in early 2018. The MGC decided to allow Wynn Resorts to retain its state-issued gaming license for Encore Boston Harbor after Wynn resigned and departed his namesake company, and the company agreed to pay a record $35 million fine.
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