|The outgoing Nevada Gaming
Control Board Chairman Steve DuCharme and Board member Scott Scherer were
recently interviewed by LasVegas.com Gaming Wire. The articles are reproduced
in full with permission from the Gaming Wire.
NEVADA GAMING'S TOP COP RECOLLECTS
26th December 2000
By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE
Gaming Control Board Chairman Steve DuCharme's nine-year tenure
regulatory body ends Jan. 2.
In a recent interview, DuCharme discussed his tenure and future
also talked about challenges Nevada's gaming industry and state regulators
are likely to face.
DuCharme, 53, graduated from Las Vegas High School, and earned
bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Nevada,
Vegas while serving as a Las Vegas Police detective.
Appointed to the control board by former Gov. Bob Miller, DuCharme
the board member responsible for overseeing the enforcement division's
When former Chairman Bill Bible resigned from the board in 1998,
appointed DuCharme chairman.
Among the critical issues the board's handled during DuCharme's
chairman was problem gambling, prompted by a concurrent study of the
problem by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.
Another key issue DuCharme's board faced was gaming industry
consolidation, after a series of megamergers and casino purchases left
Strip and the city's locals market in the hands of a few large operators.
DuCharme married Patricia Becker, a former control board member
current Aladdin lawyer, in November.
Question: What are your thoughts as your tenure nears its end?
Answer: Where does the time go?
Question: What are some of the biggest challenges for Nevada's
regulators going to be during the early part of the 21st century?
Answer: Well the big issue out there right now is Internet gaming,
of how it will affect Nevada's gaming industry, and whether Nevada's
will get involved in it. I think that is the most serious issue moving
the horizon. In the short term, the congressional moves to restrict
wagering on collegiate events will be important. While college sports
betting's not a huge revenue producer for the industry, it's an important
factor. It generates a lot of excitement, and it's something that separates
Nevada from the other gaming states.
Question: If the state of Nevada decided to legalize and regulate
gaming, would you want it to be regulated by the current regulatory
framework, or by a separate body dedicated to regulating Internet gaming?
Answer: If legal Internet gaming were to be the state of the
law in Nevada,
I think the Nevada Gaming Commission and the control board should regulate
it and would be in the best position to regulate it. If Internet gaming
what the Legislature and the governor thinks is good for Nevada in
of public policy, then clearly the current regulatory system is the
Question: What are the most serious obstacles to the state regulating
Answer: The ability to restrict where it's deployed to only
jurisdictions where they want it, and where it's legal. We've had problems
in the past with licensees with Australian Internet betting operations
were unable to restrict where the games were deployed. Two, you've
problem of inappropriate individuals accessing the (Internet gaming
sites, not only minors, but people with legitimate gambling problems.
seeing a growth in problem gambling here in Nevada with the explosion
neighborhood gaming, which was a problem we didn't see 20 or 30 years
when we exported our problems. You can see how problem gambling would
even more troublesome with people betting from their living rooms.
Question: People do that now, don't they?
Answer: (Yes,) but the state's not putting its stamp of approval
Question: Estimates are that upward of 50 percent of worldwide
betting is made from persons in the United States. Do you think Nevada
be left out of the huge market if it doesn't take the lead regulating
Answer: Obviously a Nevada licensee conducting this type of
it instant credibility, just as our casinos had instant credibility
early '90s when they built casinos in other states as new jurisdictions
opened up. If Nevada gets involved (in Internet gaming), I'm sure it
similarly advance the business of Internet gaming, but I'm not personally
convinced it's the right thing to do. We've got in excess of $20 billion
infrastructure and construction and a huge airport here, and we promote
Nevada and Las Vegas as a total entertainment package, not just where
sit around in your living room in your bathrobe playing video poker
on your credit card. We offer more of an entertainment experience than
gambling for gambling's sake.
Question: Would a ban on college sports betting pose a serious
Answer: There are so many intangibles here that it's hard to
People come here for the Final Four, they come here during the bowl
because they can make legal wagers and Nevada's an exciting place to
And it would be the elephant's nose under the tent in the form of federal
regulation, which we've strongly tried to resist, because it's a states'
Question: What was your most difficult case during your tenure
on the board?
Answer: Well, one would be the (Australian slot machine manufacturer)
Aristocrat (Leisure Ltd.) investigation, which began during the late
and continued into the '90s. (One of Aristocrat's license applicants)
represented by Paul Bible when he reapplied after a year-long investigation
(lawyer Paul Bible is Bill Bible's brother), which caused Chairman
recuse himself. So Chairman Bible handed the gavel to me, and I had
little experience at that point. We held a lengthy, contested suitability
hearing, with a very highly respected attorney. So, while all suitability
hearings are important, this one for me was a difficult one because
Question: What about the case of Ron Harris, the control board
software technician caught rigging gaming devices?
Answer: When you have internal problems, it's troubling, because
concerned about whether there are safeguards you should have had that
didn't have. But when we went back and reviewed the agency and the
we do have solid, competent, honest employees, and over my tenure we've
one bad apple who embarrassed the agency.
Question: Who's mentored you during your service on the board,
and who did
you model your leadership style on?
Answer: I modeled myself on Chairman Bible in the sense that
he worked hard, and he believed in the agents and the agency. Everybody
there own style, and while I was incredibly lucky to have worked with
for over seven years, there have been a number of people who've brought
lot to the agency while I've been here.
Question: There was tension between Mr. Bible and the attorney
(Frankie Sue Del Papa) while he was chairman. As the attorney general's
office must work closely with the board, how has the relationship between
the agencies been while you've been chairman?
Answer: I think the attorney general's gaming division is obviously
support for the control board and the Gaming Commission. They pack
a lot of
horsepower when they say "this is our interpretation of the statutes
regulation." You put yourself at risk if you go against the legal advice
your own lawyers. I've found them very willing to explore various avenues
on what needs to be done to further gaming regulation in the state
Question: You've described the problems retaining the board's
agents in the
face of expanded opportunities and recruitment by the public and private
sector. What can be done?
Answer: They are incredibly professional and dedicated to the
the agency. When they're out in the field, that professionalism manifests
itself to the people we're regulating and investigating. I can see
applicant or the licensee thinking: "This agent is making only half
two-thirds what I pay my employees." So it's a target rich environment
them to lure our agents away. It's hard to stand in the way of someone's
upward mobility, and we have no ability, salarywise, to compete with
private enterprises or public agencies.
Question: Do you have any regrets about things that you were
accomplish or that you would have liked to have done differently during
your tenure on the board?
Answer: No. No regrets. I've really enjoyed it. I can't believe
it went by
so fast. You know, I'm glad I started out as a board member because
couldn't cut it as an agent. Over the years I've learned quite a bit,
the other board members, from the agents and from the people in the
industry. It's been an incredible learning experience.
Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of during your
Answer: That the state of gaming regulation in Nevada has been
it's been a platform for unprecedented growth, and that it looks like
will remain stable with the appointment of Scott Scherer to the board.
Question: What are your future plans? By law you can't be employed
industry you regulated. What will you do during that year?
Answer: For the first few months I have a lot of chores to catch up
a stack of books I haven't had an opportunity to get to. I'm still
requests to speak at conferences, but I don't have any real concrete
Question: Would you be interested in a regulatory job in another jurisdiction?
Answer: I don't envision a full-time job as a gaming regulator in another
state. Possibly I could consult for any regulatory body that might
Question: After the one-year statutory prohibition against gaming
Answer: I would keep all my options open, but I don't have any
plans to do
anything at this point. I would imagine if I stay home doing "Honey-dos"
for a year I'll be ready to go do something.
Question: Any final thoughts?
Answer: I was telling someone the other day, I was just 22 or
23 when I
started in police work, and there is no pride like a 22 year old kid
putting on his police uniform for the first time, and going out to
was so proud I felt like I was going to burst. I've felt the same way
the chairman of the Gaming Control Board. It's that fine of an organization
and I'm proud to be associated with it.
NEW NEVADA GAMING BOARD MEMBER DISCUSSES JOB
By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE
Scott Scherer, Gov. Kenny Guinn's appointment to fill the Gaming
Board seat of outgoing chairman Steve DuCharme, believes the main asset
he'll bring to the regulatory agency is his breadth of experience.
In a recent interview conducted at the state capitol, Scherer
believes the wide range of government and gaming industry jobs he's
will enable him to work with board members Bobby Siller and Dennis
Neilander to continue the agency's effective regulation of Nevada's
Scherer, 38, is a native Nevadan. He attended Clark High School,
graduated from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington
After law school, Scherer worked for a small Las Vegas law firm
to 1987. In 1987 he took a position with the attorney general's gaming
division, where he served until 1990.
In 1990 he was elected to the state Assembly, and served two
Scherer returned to private law practice when he left the employ
attorney general's gaming division. He took a position as International
Game Technology's general counsel in 1992, and served the firm in various
capacities through 1999.
Scherer was the Republican nominee for attorney general in 1998,
to Democratic incumbent Frankie Sue Del Papa.
Guinn asked Scherer to serve as his general counsel when he
in January 1999. Scherer served as the governor's top legal advisor
January 2000, when Guinn made him his chief of staff.
Guinn selected Scherer to fill the control board seat in November;
officially take the seat on Jan. 3.
Scherer and his wife Kay have two sons, Nick and Matt.
Question: If the state needs additional revenue, should the gaming
pay more taxes?
Answer: With all the new competition out there, from other jurisdictions,
tribal casinos and within the state, it's important to keep our tax
low. That being said, if there ends up being a need for additional
I think it's unrealistic to think the gaming industry shouldn't contribute.
But if we truly want to diversify the economy, we need to diversify
Question: You emphasized the "if." Is it certain Nevada needs
Answer: No. It's not certain.
Question: How healthy is Nevada's gaming industry?
Answer: It's fairly healthy overall, but there are warning signs
I think industry consolidation will continue. The industry is not just
important in the big cities; in any Nevada community of any size, casinos
tend to be among the largest employers.
Question: What challenges will gaming regulators face in the
next few years?
Answer: We've got the best regulatory framework here in Nevada,
but we need
to do more than regulate. We need to be prepared for change.
Question: What should the state do about Internet gaming?
Answer: I think it's important we get ahead of the curve. The
issue has to
be addressed. If Internet gaming isn't legal in Nevada, how do we enforce
our prohibition? The result is that the law is enforced against U.
companies, but there's little we can do against foreign companies.
Question: What's the solution?
Answer: We have to ask if we can effectively prohibit Internet
not, we need to ask if we can effectively regulate it. No safeguards
(against children betting or against people betting from jurisdictions
where such wagering is illegal) are foolproof. Casinos card minors,
some minors do get in and gamble. Nothing is 100-percent successful.
have to decide what level of effectiveness is acceptable.
Question: The governor's office and the attorney general's office
direct, top-to-bottom command structures. The board is different, with
three members together serving the executive and administrative functions.
Will the change require some adaptation on your part?
Answer: I don't think it will be a big change. The legislature
Nevada Commission of Ethics (on which Scherer served from 1996 to 1997)
collegial bodies. I have tremendous respect for both Bobby Siller and
Dennis Neilander. I'm confident we'll be able to work very well together.
Question: You ran against Frankie Sue Del Papa in the last attorney
general's race. Will you be able to work with the attorney general
Answer: I'll be able to establish an effective working relationship.
done it at the governor's office, and I used to work in the AG's gaming
Question: Are there any changes the board can make to do its
Answer: One thing I think regulators need to do is standardize
more of the
forms license applicants and holders need to fill out. If the forms
standardized across different jurisdictions, the companies and the
taxpayers would save time and money avoiding duplicated effort. Also,
forms should be available on-line. The board does better in that regard
than most state agencies, but we need to do even better.
Question: How significant is the potential impact of a federally-imposed
ban on college sports betting?
Answer: It's important, and not strictly from the revenue side.
attraction - it brings people to Nevada. Aside from being at the game
itself, Nevada's the place to be for the Super Bowl, for March Madness
for the college bowl games. There is a fear that federal intrusion
stop at college sports betting. The public needs to know this is one
instance of government trying to tell people how to spend their money.
Question: Is retention of control board agents a serious concern?
Answer: It is, and I'll be an advocate for pay increases. If
we're going to
stay the leader we have to have quality people and experienced people.
Question: By taking a position on the board, which carries a
term, are you committing to not running for elective office during
Answer: I'm not ruling it out entirely, but it would have to
the governor thought I should do or encouraged me to do.