Las Vegas attorney J. Brin Gibson, who spent four years as the chief of the gaming division for Nevada’s attorney general, is the new chairman of the regulatory panel he once advised.
Gibson, 46, was appointed chairman of the state’s Gaming Control Board Tuesday by Gov. Steve Sisolak and will serve out the two years left in the term of former Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan who resigned last week to join the board of Fidelity National Financial, Inc.
Sisolak was well acquainted with Gibson. He served as the governor’s general counsel for a year and assisted the office during two special legislative sessions this summer.
“Brin’s extensive background and expertise in highly regulated industries, including his experience as chief of the gaming division, makes him a perfect fit for this position, and I look forward to watching him excel in this position,” Sisolak said in a statement.
The three-member Control Board makes recommendations on licensing and other gaming policy matters to the part-time Nevada Gaming Commission. The chair of the Control Board earns $158,879 a year and is considered the state’s top gaming regulator.
Much of this year has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a 78-day shutdown of the state’s gaming industry, starting March 18, in an effort to slow the COVID-19 spread. The Control Board and Gaming Commission adopted a list of COVID-19 health, safety, cleaning, and social distancing protocols that have been in place since June.
Gibson will leave his current job as a shareholder in the Las Vegas office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He joined the law firm earlier this year.
“I am humbled and honored that Gov. Sisolak would appoint me chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board at this point in the state’s history,” Gibson said. “It is a position that has been occupied with individuals of high character and ability, including the outgoing chair, Sandra Douglass Morgan, who has done an exceptional job under the most difficult circumstances. I will work tirelessly to serve with the same sense of honor and dignity for the position those before me have shown.”
While serving as Sisolak’s general counsel, Gibson was the chief legal officer regarding ethics, transactional and legislative matters, and protection of state interests in the gaming and cannabis industries.
Gibson played a key role in designing the state’s Cannabis Control Board, which was established last year, in the mold of the Gaming Control Board. He chaired an advisory board that worked to craft Assembly Bill 533, authorizing the new board.
In the Attorney General’s Office, Gibson served dual roles as the first assistant attorney general and chief of the gaming division. In these roles, he supervised all regulatory and administrative law actions for the office and oversaw a staff of nearly 400 lawyers and legal support professionals.
In his role as the chief of gaming, he acted as the chief legal counsel to the Control Board, the Gaming Commission, and Nevada Gaming Policy Committee.
Gibson served two terms as the commissioner of the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, appointed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Gibson earned his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Public Policy, and Juris Doctor degrees from Brigham Young University.
Morgan was the second woman and first African-American to oversee the more than 60-year-old state agency when she was appointed to the post by Sisolak in January 2019.
Sisolak also appointed Philip Katsaros to the board in 2019. Control Board member Terry Johnson has been on the panel since 2012. His current term expires in 2021.
Sisolak has now appointed three of the five members of the Gaming Commission and recently elevated John Moran Jr. to the chairmanship.
Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.