On Monday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced A.G. Burnett’s resignation from his post as chairman of the state’s Gaming Control Board (GCB), to work as a partner for law firm, McDonald Carano’s Gaming & Administrative Law Group. Effective December 22, Burnett is leaving one year before his scheduled term end date. A replacement for Chairman Burnett will be named at a later date, Sandoval said.
Burnett is considered one of the leaders in gaming regulation around the world. Prior to his post as a GCB chairman, Burnett served as Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Gaming Division of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office where he represented the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, and the Nevada Commission on Sports.
Burnett managed the implementation of the first US online poker in the state in April 2013. Furthermore, he oversaw the operation of an interstate online poker liquidity deal with Delaware. He obtained the GCB chairman seat five years ago.
‘He’ll be missed’
A.G. Burnett’s counterpart on the Nevada Gaming Commission, Chairman Tony Alamo, said he’s sad to see him leave.
“He’ll definitely be missed,” Alamo said. “He was knowledgeable and had a real commitment to the job. I can tell you that A.G. Burnett and I worked very well together, and I’d like to think that he and I did some good things for the state.”
Although proud of the work he and his team has accomplished, Burnett thinks a nearly 20-year career in gaming regulation is enough for anyone. Burnett’s leave is marked as a mandatory one-year ‘cooling off’ period before representing clients before Nevada regulators. He will also use this period to attend to family matters. Burnett told The Nevada Independent that he was leaving for private practice to take financial pressure off his wife, a teacher. After this, he plans to focus on gaming law, although in the meantime, he’s unsure of what he’ll be doing at his new position.
Burnett will work with McDonald Carano’s gaming and administrative law group, joining attorneys A.J. “Bud” Hicks, Greg Giordano and Dennis Gutwald in an attempt to follow the leads of former gaming regulators Dennis Neilander and Mark Clayton who made similar moves from regulator to private practice.
“In addition to his vast experience with Nevada gaming licensing matters and regulatory requirements, A.G. brings tremendous knowledge relating to the issues that are presently roiling the gaming industry including matters relating to the potential spread of interstate sports betting opportunities and internet gaming developments,” said Hicks. “He will be an invaluable resource for our present clients and for new clients as they enter the industry.”
Burnett said his decision to resign had nothing to do with the controversy between him and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, now a Republican candidate for governor. Back in May, it was disclosed Burnett had secretly recorded Laxalt, during a March 2016 conversation about a request from Las Vegas Sands Corp. involving the confidentiality of state records. Laxalt asked Burnett to intervene on the behalf of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Burnett turned a copy of the recording over to the FBI, which concluded no crime had been committed by Laxalt in making the request.
Burnett’s exit comes just as it appears that Nevada’s US monopoly on single-game sports betting could be coming to a close. The state is also wrestling with how its gaming industry should deal with the thorny legal intersection of Nevada’s new recreational marijuana laws and ongoing federal marijuana prohibitions.