Nevada Gaming Control Board chairwoman resigns

Sandra Douglass Morgan, chairwoman and executive director of the Nevada Gaming Control Board who oversaw the gaming industry’s reopening from the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, resigned Thursday to rejoin the private sector.

Douglass Morgan will serve on the board of directors for Fidelity National Financial, which is owned by Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. The announcement was made Friday morning.

“We are excited and pleased to welcome Sandra to our Board of Directors as an independent director,” Foley said in a statement Friday. “Sandra comes at an exciting time for FNF as we remain committed to maximizing and delivering value to all FNF stakeholders. I know her deep experience and diverse skillset will certainly benefit our management team and Board.”

Douglass Morgan’s last day on the GCB is Nov. 6. She begins her new job Nov. 9. 

“It has been a privilege to lead the Nevada Gaming Control Board with such a rich and proficient history in gaming regulation. Working with an outstanding and dedicated staff throughout the state has been the honor of a lifetime,” Douglass Morgan said in a statement. “In the last two years, the Board has ensured that gaming licensees adopted and implemented policies for all types of discrimination and harassment, modernized its regulations to allow cashless wagering at machines and table games, investigated the merger creating the world’s largest casino company, and adopted COVID-19 mitigation measures.  

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Board agents have worn multiple hats beyond their normal job duties to regulate a safe reopening and continued safe operations of gaming establishments for employees, residents, and visitors,” she continued. “I was and will always be proud to have been a part of these numerous accomplishments. I want to thank Governor Sisolak for the opportunity to serve in this position.” 

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said: “I will forever be grateful to Chairwoman Douglass Morgan for her hard work and dedication to Nevada. She has been with the administration from the start, and her steady hand and unmatched leadership has been critical in guiding Nevada’s gaming industry through one of the most turbulent periods in its history.” 

Sisolak said he will announce his appointment to fill the seat “in the very near future.” 

Douglass Morgan appeared on a virtual panel at the Global Gaming Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday but did not mention the impending resignation. She spoke about women in gaming and their careers and another on what was done to reopen casinos. 

As the government’s gaming regulator, Douglass Morgan is responsible for the Board’s daily operations, including managing a $44 million budget and approximately 400 employees in five cities throughout Nevada, according to her bio on the G2E website. The board makes recommendations to the Nevada Gaming Commission where she was previously a member. 

“I think the timing and quickness of it is interesting over everything, but obviously she has gotten the board through a challenging time as it relates to COVID-19 and look forward to seeing who the governor will appoint in that capacity next,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of governor affairs for Global Market Advisors. 

Bussman said Douglass Morgan’s tenure will be known for dealing with the “Great Shutdown” and the challenge of reopening every casino in the state and enforcement of rules that went along with. She also oversaw the merger between Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts over the summer. 

The position pays $158,879 a year. 

Douglass Morgan is a former government affairs director for AT&T and previously served as the city attorney for the city of North Las Vegas. Prior to her public service with the city, she served as a litigation attorney for MGM Mirage. 

Douglass Morgan was the first African-American chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and was the first African-American city attorney in the state of Nevada.  She also served on the Gaming Commission and the Athletic Commission prior to joining the Gaming Control Board. 

Her awards and honors include the UNLV Boyd School of Law Distinguished Service Award, Corporate to Community Connector award from the National Urban League Young Professionals, “Women in Business and Politics” award from the Urban Chamber of Commerce, Ladies of Distinction Award from Olive Crest, the National Bar Association’s Nation’s Best Advocates “40 under 40,” and Attorney of the Year Award by the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association. 

Douglass Morgan earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and her J.D. from the William S. Boyd School of Law at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  

At G2E, Douglass Morgan, 41, talked about how many women are happy when women see advancement or groundbreaking, but younger generations want more. 

“I am very empowered by this younger generation,” she said. “We’re trying to follow the rules, and they say the rules need to be rewritten. They say they need to be redone because these rules don’t help women. These rules don’t help minorities or these rules don’t help people in the LGBTQ community now.” 

Douglass Morgan’s last board meeting will be Wednesday. 

About the Author

Buck Wargo

Buck Wargo is a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times and has been based in Las Vegas as a business, real estate and gaming reporter since 2005.

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