Missouri Gaming Chief To Retire As Industry Faces Possible Expansion

Written By Hill Kerby on April 19, 2024
The word 'retired' written in the sand

The Missouri Gaming Commission will soon be looking for a new executive director. Peggy Richardson plans to retire on June 1, creating a vacancy at the top of the body that regulates the Missouri gambling industry.

Richardson, a former circuit judge, has led the commission for nearly three years. The next director faces a possible expansion of gambling in the Show Me State, which has not occurred in over a decade.

Two competing entities are vying to build a casino in Lake of the Ozarks, and legalizing sports betting could be on November’s ballot.

MGC executive director would probably oversee a Missouri sports betting industry

The executive director holds the highest position in the Missouri Gaming Commission (MGC). Missouri online casinos are illegal, meaning the role focuses on regulating the state’s riverboat gambling industry, and, likely, a sports betting industry if it is legalized.

Currently, the executive director has two primary duties:

  • Managing the deputy director and three assistant directors for each of the MGC’s disciplines – compliance, administration and enforcement
  • Holding direct supervision over the general counsel, which reports to the MGC

Additionally, the executive director participates in the legislative process, makes public presentations and works closely with numerous state and local agencies, regulatory jurisdictions and other gaming organizations. The executive director and the MGC as a whole are not responsible for the growth or success of the industry. The MGC’s responsibilities solely lie in regulation.

Richardson’s reported salary is $129,000, though, the job listing sets compensation at $120,000.

Former judge was the first female executive director of MGC

Richardson was selected as the eighth MGC executive director in 2021, succeeding David Grothaus

Richardson is a native Missourian, born in Morgan County. She was a Moniteau County judge for over 22 years after receiving her undergraduate degree from Central Missouri State University and juris doctorate from the University of Missouri.

She was the first woman to serve as executive director of the MGC. Richardson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to spend time with family and friends in retirement.

“In the past several months, I have been reminded that every day is a gift and, quite frankly, I have a lot of things on my bucket list that I want to get done. Besides, if you never step aside, no one else ever gets to step up.”

Next director could see responsibilities multiply

If the gambling industry in Missouri expands, the resources required to regulate it would also have to grow. The executive director’s responsibilities would also increase.

A recent proposal estimated that legalizing Missouri sports betting would add 15 full-time regulatory positions to the MGC. The General Assembly has failed to legalize sports betting for three years, and 2024 looks to produce another similar result.

However, the political action committee Winning for Missouri Education is expected to announce soon that it has exceeded the required number of collected signatures to gain ballot access in November.

Similarly, a fiscal analysis projected that a 14th riverboat casino on Lake Ozark would require at least 12 new regulatory positions.

The commission is accepting applications for Richardson’s successor until May 1.

Photo by PlayMissouri
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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