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Gaming official won’t seek new appointment

Gaming Control Board member Mark Clayton told the governor’s office Friday he wouldn’t seek reappointment when his term ends in December.

Clayton, 43, is the only member of the three-person control board whose term is expiring. He expressed his wishes in a phone call to Gov. Jim Gibbons’ chief of staff, Josh Hicks.

“I felt it was best to let this governor select his own board member,” said Clayton, who was appointed to the panel in 2005 by former Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Clayton, a former casino industry general counsel, said he does not have a job lined up and was waiting until after his last control board meeting in December before exploring opportunities. Clayton is subject to a one-year cooling-off period that precludes him from working in the gaming industry. However, he can work for a law firm and represent gaming clients.

Hicks was unavailable for comment Friday.

Gibbons’ spokesman Ben Kieckhefer said by e-mail, “We’re aware of the opening and will appoint a qualified person when the time is right.”

The last time there was an open position on the Gaming Control Board, it took several weeks to sort out the appointment.

Guinn, before he left office in December 2006, appointed his chief of staff, Keith Munro, to the position vacated by former control board member Bobby Siller. However, Gibbons, moments after a midnight swearing-in ceremony on New Year’s Eve, named the control board’s chief of investigations, Randy Sayre to the position, saying his appointment superseded the former governor’s selection.

For several weeks it was unclear which appointment would stick. The control board’s January 2007 meeting was held with just two members, Clayton and Chairman Dennis Neilander. The controversy was resolved when Munro accepted a position in the attorney general’s office and Sayre was seated on the board.

The Gaming Control Board is the state’s enforcement and investigative agency for gaming. The board makes recommendations on matters to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Its three members are full-time state employees.

The control board position pays $125,112 annually.

The position will be Gibbons’ fourth gaming regulatory appointment. In addition to Sayre, he reappointed Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard to a four-year term in January 2007. In March, he named Las Vegas physician Dr. Tony Alamo Jr. to the gaming commission to replace former state Sen. Ray Rawson, whose term expired.

Clayton was general counsel of Caesars Entertainment when Guinn appointed him to the control board. Caesars was in the process of being purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment at the time. Previously, Clayton held general counsel positions with Aladdin Gaming Holdings and Showboat.

From 1993 to 1995, Clayton served as the control board’s chief of corporate securities.

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

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