May 17, 2024 3 min read


Sharon M. Avery Takes Acting Chair Role with NIGC

The experienced executive was appointed to the acting chair role and will remain in that position until a permanent appointment for the role is confirmed

The regulatory body that oversees gaming on Indian lands, monitors such activities and ensures operators adhere to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), confirmed the appointment of an acting chair. The Commission’s associate commissioner, Sharon M. Avery, was appointed to the role of acting chair of the NIGC by President Joe Biden.

Confirmation about the latest appointment came from the NIGC on Thursday. Still, Avery has taken on the role, effective from May 15, 2024, and she will remain as active chair of the agency until a senate-confirmed, presidentially appointed chair is selected.

Earlier this month, Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior, announced the appointment of Avery to the role of associate commissioner with the NIGC. Her term for the role, effective from May 6, 2024, will be three years. However, considering Avery’s latest appointment as acting chair, she will now hold a dual role for the agency. This grants her the authority to make decisions with the same weight as an appointee from the Senate.

The appointment of Avery as acting chair comes after NIGC’s former chair, E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, stepped down from his role. The former NIGC chairman transitioned to become a vice president for strategic partnerships at the leading betting and gaming operator, FanDuel, near the end of February. This strategic transition reaffirmed the leading operator’s dedication to expanding its collaborations with Indian Country.

Currently, the NIGC is in charge of regulating more than 500 gambling venues across the country. Those venues, operating in 29 different states, are run by nearly 250 tribal operators.

The Executive Brings Extensive Experience

Avery’s appointment as chair and associate commissioner comes as no surprise, considering her extensive experience in the sector and with tribal affairs in particular. She is a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

Moreover, Avery has been a part of the NIGC for more than four years previously. At the time, she was with the NIGC Office of General Counsel, holding a role as associate general counsel.

Outside of the NIGC, Avery spent more than a decade with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian where she oversaw legal affairs as a part of its legal team. Throughout her tenure, she has held the role of general counsel for tribal operations at the Tribe.

I am humbled the administration has entrusted me with the distinguished opportunity to serve as the NIGC Acting Chair.

Sharon M. Avery, acting chair of the NIGC

Sharing her excitement, Avery said that she is humbled to take on this important role at the NIGC. The executive added that she will leverage her extensive experience to ensure the Agency will continue to monitor affairs under the IGRA without any disruptions until an appointment for a permanent chair is announced.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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