The New York State Gaming Commission is beginning to take shape and the most important position in the office has now been filled after the state Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Mark D. Gearan as chair of the commission.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement, putting Gearan as the head of the commission that will essentially regulate all forms of gaming and gambling activity in New York, including the development of seven new casinos in the state.
Gearan’s 5-year appointment comes at a time when he also holds the title of president of Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. But that’s not the extent of his resume, either. Before holding this position for the past 15 years, Gearan also held some pretty important jobs, most notably his time as Assistant to the President, Director of Communications and Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton. He also led the Peace Corps. at one point in time, so yeah, his resume speaks for itself.
One thing we do know is that his newest job will be different from his previous ones as he takes the helm of a commission that will have its hands full regulating the gambling industry in a state that’s essentially walking through unchartered waters with the development of these non-Indian casinos in New York. And that’s on top of the commission’s other responsibilities, which includes overseeing all horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering, class III Indian gaming, video lottery terminal facilities at race tracks, the state lottery, and charitable gaming.
If it sounds like a whole lot of responsibilities, it’s because it is. Fortunately, Gearan has the governor’s stamp of approval, which should means something given how Cuomo was the one who spearheaded the move to expand casino gambling in New York.
“I am pleased to welcome Mark Gearan, a proven leader with years of management experience in the public and private sectors, to serve as Chair of the Gaming Commission,” the governor said.
“Casino gaming holds the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Upstate New York, while providing millions of dollars to schools and local governments statewide. Mark’s decades of public service and great work leading Hobart and William Smith Colleges will be of tremendous value in this new role , and I thank him for taking the time to serve on the Gaming Commission.”
Now that Gearan’s appointment as chairman of the commission has been signed, sealed, and delivered, his plate will be full in the coming days when the commission holds its first meeting on March 12 to discuss a variety of important issues, including appointing members for the Gaming Facility Location Board and the adoption of equine drug rules to bring uniformity to the horse racing industry.
Based on the the man’s glowing resume, it certainly looks like Mark Gearan is up-to-the-task of being the chair of the New York Gaming Commission. From here on out, though, credentials don’t matter; it’s all about delivering the results.