MGC No Longer Taking Applications For Executive Director Opening

Written By Adam Hensley on July 2, 2024 - Last Updated on July 3, 2024
An online job application

The Missouri Gaming Commission is now officially in the interview stage of its executive director hiring process.

In an email to PlayMissouri, the MGC public relations coordinator, Elizabeth Hoffman, shared the news.

“The Missouri Gaming Commission is no longer accepting applications for the Executive Director position. We hope to conduct interviews within the next two months.”

The MGC website currently lists Heather Richenberger as its interim executive director. She held the position since former executive director Peggy Richardson retired on June 1.

Will Richenberger be one of the candidates for the position?

We don’t know who the candidates are. But it would make sense that Richenberger applied and is one of the leading candidates for the gig.

It is noteworthy that the MGC gave her the interim title. Furthermore, Richenberger spent a lot of time in the Show Me State in addition to her time with the MGC.

Richenberger spent 17 years as an attorney in the Western District of Missouri, serving two federal judges. Before that, she was also an attorney at a law firm in Jefferson City.

She is also a product of Missouri’s higher education system. Richenberger received her juris doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law.

Again, we don’t know any of the MGC’s candidates. We don’t know if they currently work for the MGC in any capacity or if they are an outside hire. But should the MGC hire someone outside its organizational structure for its executive director position, a candidate with a sports betting regulation or oversight history might be a plus.

Sports betting could be at the forefront of executive director’s duties

Missouri sports betting isn’t legal yet. That could change this year if the voters pass the ballot initiative backed by the state’s pro sports teams and funded by FanDuel and DraftKings. The ballot initiative asks if voters were willing to legalize sports betting to help fund Missouri’s public schools.

Winning for Missouri Education, the PAC that did the legwork for the referendum, spent the first few months of 2024 collecting signatures. In May, they submitted them to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office. It takes at least 171,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot, but the group claimed it filed more than 340,000 signatures.

Those signatures were sent to local election officials for verification. They have until July 30 to complete the process. Then, election officials will send a report back to Ashcroft’s office, either verifying or denying those signatures. Then, Ashcroft’s office has two weeks to review the reports and announce the results.

Thus, Ashcroft has until August 13 to announce whether voters will decide on sports betting this fall. If voters say “yes” to sports betting, the executive director will have more on their plate than they have in the past.

The executive director oversees a deputy director, who is responsible for three assistant directors, each responsible for a different aspect of gambling regulation: compliance, administration, and enforcement.

With the creation of a budding sports betting market, the MGC must create protocols for all three aspects of the industry. On the other hand, regulators have probably streamlined a process for the other gambling industries with a longer history in the state.

What are the chances sports betting passes at the ballot box?

Previous polls indicated that more than 60% of Missouri residents were in favor of legalizing sports betting. A more recent poll from Emerson College and The Hill shows that the vote might be tighter than originally anticipated.

However, it’s likely the MGC will be thinking about sports betting during its interviews over the next few months. Even if voters turn down the idea this fall, there’s optimism that lawmakers could pass a clean sports betting bill next year.

Sports betting seems to be a matter of when, not if, in Missouri. The MGC appears to be taking the same approach when it names its new executive director.

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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