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Changes come to Gaming Control Board

Gaming Control Board member Mark Lipparelli was named chairman of the three-person panel Friday while two longtime agency staff members were appointed to vacant seats on the board.

Lipparelli, 45, replaces Dennis Neilander, who didn’t seek reappointment. It is the first change in the panel’s chairmanship since 2001.

Gov. Jim Gibbons announced Friday that A.G. Burnett, deputy chief of the control board’s corporate securities division, and Shawn Reid, chief of investigations, would be appointed to the control board’s two open positions.

Gibbons was acting on the recommendations of Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval, who served nearly three years as a member and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. Sandoval interviewed candidates for the open positions.

“I wanted to build a board that can handle any kind of issue that industry might be facing,” Sandoval said Friday. “These are individuals with a great amount of experience who are well-respected by the industry.”

Sandoval expects gaming regulators to face matters involving Internet gaming, corporate finance, gambling technology advancements and foreign gaming. He said he talked with applicants who had either legal or law enforcement backgrounds for the open seats.

Burnett, 41, an attorney, worked as senior deputy attorney general in the gaming division under Sandoval when he was Nevada Attorney General and an associate in a Reno law firm. Reid, 47, has worked his way through the ranks of the Gaming Control Board after joining the agency in 1990.

Lipparelli, who was appointed to the control board in January 2009 by Gibbons, spent much of his career working in the gaming equipment manufacturing sector, including executive roles with Bally Technologies, Shuffle Master Gaming and Casino Data Systems, which included operations, corporate finance and investor relations.

He began his gaming industry career with the control board as a research and securities analyst.

“I think Mark brings another element of experience to the board because of his background in the industry and on the technology side,” Sandoval said.

The control board, which is the state’s enforcement and investigative agency for gaming, makes recommendations on matters to the Nevada Gaming Commission. The three members are full-time state employees. Control board members earn $125,112 annually. The chairman earns $134,554.

Under Nevada law, Gibbons needed to make the two appointments by Dec. 31. Those appointments expire in a month. Sandoval said he would reappoint Reid and Burnett by Jan. 31.

The change in the appointment process came about after Gibbons named Randall Sayre to the post in January 2007, in an attempt to supersede an appointment by outgoing Gov. Kenny Guinn to an open control board seat.

A legal skirmish was avoided when Guinn’s choice, Keith Munro, accepted a position as chief of staff to Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Sayre said last week that he was told he was not going to be reappointed to a second four-year term.

Neilander and Sayre’s appointments expire at the end of the year.

Longtime gaming attorney Jeff Silver, who was a member of the Gaming Control Board from 1975 to 1979, thought the new control board members would be able to draw on their experience from within the agency.

“Both new members have already earned the respect of the industry and gaming practitioners,” Silver said. “They know the law, the process, the staff and will hit the ground running.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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