Head of Indiana’s Gaming Regulator Steps Down as IGC Faces Backlash

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Sara Gonso Tait isn’t going to be running the show at the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) for much longer. The agency’s executive director is going to step down next month after six years in the role, departing in the middle of a debate between the IGC and state lawmakers over new integrity rules being introduced. IGC General Counsel Greg Smalls will step in to fill the void.

Indiana Gaming Commission Boss Stepping Down

Gonso Tait has been with the IGC for ten years, six of which were spent as its boss. According to a press release from the office of Governor Eric Holcomb, her last day will be September 10, although what lies ahead hasn’t been revealed. Gonso Tait explained to the Indy Star media outlet that she wants to explore her options, adding, “I am absolutely leaving on my own terms. It’s been 10 great years and it’s time for me to move on and grow.”

The outgoing executive has been fundamental to Indiana’s gaming activity, leading the state’s entrance into sports betting and the launch of three new casinos. She was also heavily involved in negotiating a new gaming compact that allowed the Four Winds Casino to come to South Bend. Governor Holcomb added in the release, “As executive director, Sara demonstrated a strategic vision for the Indiana Gaming Commission that delivered strong results in economic development while maintaining the highest level of integrity. Her leadership and innovation [have] made a positive impact on the state of Indiana that will continue beyond her time at the Indiana Gaming Commission.”

IGC Not Without Controversy

Emphasizing the departure coming on her own terms stems from the fact that the IGC is embroiled in a few controversies. One is a fight with some state lawmakers, who are unhappy over gaming integrity rules. The IGC has asserted that it would require anyone linked to casinos and casino investments to reveal their personal and financial histories to the commission; however, some lawmakers aren’t happy with the move. The commission’s decision is intrinsically tied to issues surrounding Spectacle Entertainment and Lucy Luck Gaming and has already received support from an Indiana judge.

Spectacle has been the center of unwanted attention for a number of years. The company has had executives tied to illegal political campaign finance deals, which ultimately led to an investigation by the IGC into its background. That resulted in Spectacle’s former boss, Rod Ratcliff, being banned from the gaming industry and also caused issues for a number of individuals tied to the state’s casino industry.

Despite the ongoing conflict with lawmakers, Gonso Tait asserts that she is leaving with her head high, adding, “I leave the Indiana Gaming Commission having accomplished significant goals and confident that my tenure served the agency, industry and state well. This role has been more than I hoped for and being the executive director has been a privilege and honor. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am truly appreciative of Governor Holcomb and his office for the incredible support, trust and opportunity to grow.”

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