MGC Installs Richenberger as Interim Executive Director

Written By Adam Hensley on June 5, 2024
An empty table prepped for a business meeting

e no formal announcement, Heather Richenberger has purportedly been chosen to lead the Missouri Gaming Commission. At least on an interim basis for now.

The commission’s website lists Richenberger as the body’s interim executive director following the June 1 retirement of former director Peggy Richardson.

Richenberger had previously served as the commission’s general council.

Commission has not said if it’s still seeking a permanent candidate

The Missouri Gaming Commission oversees charitable and commercial gaming in the state. It’s in charge of regulating, licensing, and collecting taxes from the gaming industry. It would probably regulate Missouri sports betting if it is legalized.

When Richardson announced her retirement, the MGC said it would take applications for her successor until May 1. Again, the commission has not formally announced Richenberger as the official executive director or whether it is still searching for a permanent chief. Richenberger’s name is listed as interim executive director on its website.

The executive director is the highest position at the MGC and has two main duties:

  • Manage the deputy director and the three assistant directors in compliance, administration and enforcement
  • Supervise the general counsel

The executive director is also part of the legislative process, working with lawmakers on gaming issues and laws.

Richenberger has been an attorney in Missouri for several years

Richenberger was named MGC general council in June of last year. She spent the previous 17 years as an attorney with US courts for the Western District of Missouri, serving two different federal judges. Before that, she practiced as an attorney with a law firm in Jefferson City.

She has also been the assistant prosecuting attorney for Boone County.

Richenberger got her Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University before obtaining her juris doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law.

If Richenberger is named the permanent executive director, she would be just the second woman in that position following Richardson, who served for three years.

MGC would likely regulate sports betting

The duties of the MGC would likely multiply if Missouri legalized sports betting.

Missouri residents will probably have the opportunity to decide the issue through a referendum on November’s ballot. The Secretary of State’s Office is expected to approve the proposal by August.

One poll from FOX4 and Emerson College showed that 62% of residents favor sports betting. Another survey from Remington Research Group for Missouri Scout showed that 60% of residents don’t want sports betting.

If the referendum fails, Missouri lawmakers may take up the issue again in 2025. Sen. Denny Hoskins, who has stymied efforts to pass sports betting bills the last few years, has hit his term limit. With him out of office, the general consensus is it will be easier to pass legislation.

One estimate said the MGC would need to add 15 full-time positions to regulate a Missouri sports betting industry.

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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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