Black Executives On The Rise

August 2023

Brittnie T. Watkins

Current company and role: In 2021, I was appointed to serve a four-year term as a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. I proudly serve the state of Nevada in that role today.

Hometown: I am originally from Battle Creek, Michigan. I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

First job in gaming: My first position in gaming is the position I currently hold as one of three board members for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. I first became engaged in gaming as a commercial litigator representing gaming entities and as a student earning a Master of Laws in Gaming Law and Regulation.

What do you like about working in gaming?

I like having the vantage point to view the industry in all its vastness. As a regulator at a world class agency, I am afforded a multi-dimensional view that includes opportunities to see interesting and innovative projects, to meet regulators and industry professionals from around the world, and to be part of intriguing policy, research, and best practices discussions. As someone who enjoys the pursuit of knowledge, I find the obligation to seek knowledge and resolve policy questions to be one of the best parts of the job.

Did anything surprise you about the industry when you first started?

I was pleasantly surprised with how intertwined gaming is with the social sciences and other subject areas.  The psychology of gambling, for instance, is an interesting area of study that has boundless implications for regulators and industry professionals alike. I have also found my background in civil litigation, psychology, criminal justice, and even education to be immeasurably useful in my current gaming role.

Were you familiar with gambling before landing a job in the industry? What were your thoughts about gaming before starting to work in your position? Has your impression of the industry changed at all?

Prior to studying gaming, my understanding of the gaming ecosystem was limited. I was somewhat familiar with gambling because it is embedded in the culture and economy of Las Vegas. However, I was not a gambler, so my thoughts about gambling did not venture far beyond the physical manifestations in the casinos I traversed and certainly did not require critical thinking. My regulatory, educational, and litigation experiences in gaming have made me more aware of the parts of the ecosystem that make up the whole and how they work together to bring to fruition the massive works of art known as casinos that we see on the Las Vegas strip. The delicate balance needed to maintain the stability, integrity, and growth of the surrounding ecosystem while ensuring strict regulation and public confidence is now acutely apparent. Undoubtedly, critical thinking about gaming is now a requirement.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders in the gaming industry?

Gaming is ever-changing, multi-faceted, and expanding.

Allow your unique perspective informed by your diverse experiences to shine light in new ways. You will find your place.

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