Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chairman J. Brin Gibson is stepping down at the end of the month and will be replaced by board member Brittnie Watkins for the regulator's December hearing, Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Monday (November 14).
Gibson, who was appointed in November 2020, will “pursue a new professional opportunity,” according to a statement from Sisolak’s office. Gibson, whose term was set to expire in January, informed the governor’s office of his decision to step down earlier this year.
Watkins, who was appointed to the control board by Sisolak in April 2021, will become the second black female chair in the three-member NGCB’s history. She joined the board after practicing commercial litigation with the Las Vegas-based law firm Pisanelli Bice.
Sisolak appointed Gibson as chairman in November 2020 to replace Sandra Douglass Morgan, the first black woman to chair the control board. Morgan resigned to take a position on the board with Fidelity Financial and is now president of the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders.
“I am humbled and honored to have served as chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board at this critical moment for Nevada,” Gibson said in a statement, “I am proud of the work we have accomplished, and I know there is so much more ahead for my colleagues.”
Watkins and board member Philip Katsaros will be the only two board members to hear the December agenda. Katsaros’ term on the control board also expires in January.
Gibson’s resignation comes after Sisolak lost his bid for re-election last week to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. Lombardo takes office in January and will make the decision on a permanent replacement for Gibson and will have to decide whether to replace or reappoint Katsaros.
As chairman, Gibson has focused on the health and safety of the industry after the coronavirus related closures, cybersecurity, casino security, and updating the state’s archaic gaming regulations.
“The regs are old,” Gibson told VIXIO GamblingCompliance last month. “We have regs that were codified in 1959 as the first generation and then we have them developing over a number of years to incorporate such things as corporations, limited liability companies and other types of wagering.”
Gibson told VIXIO the agency’s staff is going through all these “old” regulations as they “try to modernize them to oversee a changing industry.”
Gibson also discussed the need for the widespread adoption of cashless gaming.
“That needs to be the future,” Gibson said of cashless wagering.
Gibson formerly served as Sisolak’s general counsel from January 2019 until January 2020, before he left to join the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
Prior to joining the governor’s office, he served dual roles as the first assistant attorney general and chief of the gaming division within the Nevada Attorney General’s office.
In a statement, Sisolak said he was grateful for Gibson’s “leadership of the control board over the last two years.”
“I am grateful that Brittnie Watkins has agreed to continue the incredible and important work at the gaming control board,” the governor said. “She is more than ready for this role, and I am excited to see her work.”