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State senator to be first woman to chair Nevada Gaming Control Board - January 12th, 2018


Republican State Sen. Becky Harris will become the first woman to chair the state Gaming Control Board after her appointment to the post Friday by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

She succeeds A.G. Burnett, who resigned in December to enter the private sector as an attorney with the McDonald Carano firm in Reno.

Harris, who represents District 9 in Clark County, has undergraduate, master’s and law degrees from UNLV and Brigham Young University. In the Senate, she chaired the Senate Education Committee and has been a member of the Judiciary Committee.

“To be appointed to the finest regulatory system in the world is a tremendous responsibility,” Harris said in a statement issued by the governor’s office. “I am grateful for the trust and confidence Governor Sandoval has placed in me. I am committed to serving with determination and honor.”

Harris said she would miss serving in the Senate and representing District 9, “but my public service to the citizens of Nevada will certainly go on in this new full-time role.”

Sandoval applauded Harris’ legislative work in gaming.

“Becky has served her community as an elected official and worked to pass legislation which codified the e-gaming decision made by the Gaming Policy Committee which authorized e-gaming competitions, helped spur innovation in gaming and ensured Nevada remain on the forefront of new opportunities in one of our state’s oldest industries,” Sandoval said in an emailed statement. “I am confident she will continue to serve with distinction and integrity.”

The state’s two-tiered gaming regulatory system also includes the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission which establishes regulations and policies and approves licensing recommendations from the Control Board.

Burnett was in the third year of his second four-year term as chairman when he announced his departure last month. Harris will complete that term in January 2019 and then it will be up to the governor that succeeds Sandoval, who is term-limited, as to whether she would be reappointed.

After Burnett stepped down, Sandoval appointed Shawn Reid as interim chairman and he conducted the board’s meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Las Vegas with Terry Johnson, the third person on the three-member board.

Sources were telling the Review-Journal Tuesday that Harris’ appointment to the board was imminent.

Harris, a moderate Republican, flipped the seat from blue to red in 2014 during a wave that saw Republicans take control of both chambers of the state Legislature for the first at least three decades.

But Republicans weren’t guaranteed to keep the seat even before Harris’ appointment, as Democrats viewed it as their top target this election cycle. The seat also favors Democrats from a voter registration standpoint, with about 7,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the district, according to the latest statistics from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Without an incumbent, the GOP prospects of keeping the seat could now be slimmer.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. Contact Colton Lochhead at or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.