Neilander named chief Nevada regulator

Mon, 8 Jan 2001

By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE

   Gov. Kenny Guinn selected Dennis Neilander as the chairman of the 
state's Gaming Control Board on Monday.
   Neilander said the governor called him at 8:30 a.m. on Monday to 
advise him of his selection.
   "I was very excited, but I realize the chairmanship is a big 
responsibility," Neilander said. "I hope people will bear with me. It 
will tax all my abilities to lead the agency as well as it's been 
done in the past."

   Neilander, 39, has been a member of the board since 1998, and his 
current four-year term expires in January 2003.
   Guinn was required to choose one of the board's three members, 
Neilander, Bobby Siller or Scott Scherer, to replace Steve DuCharme 
as chairman, whose decade of service with the regulatory body ended 
Jan. 2.
   Scherer, Guinn's former chief of staff, was previously appointed to 
fill the slot vacated by DuCharme, but a new chairman was not named 
when Scherer's appointment was announced in December.
   "This was a difficult decision because all three board members have 
the talent and the capability to hold the chairmanship," Guinn said 
in a Monday statement. "However, Dennis' length of service and depth 
of experience was a deciding factor in my decision to appoint him 
chair of this very important board."

    Guinn spokesman Jack Finn said his boss was busy Monday and 
unavailable for comment.
   The board administers the state's Gaming Control Act and serves as 
both the police officer and tax collector for the gambling industry.
   Neilander was appointed to the board by then-Gov. Bob Miller, after 
serving as head of the board's Corporate Securities Division.
   "His experience within the department gives him a background that's 
helpful," Miller said Monday. "Having worked inside the agency he 
understands what's important from an investigatory and regulatory 
standpoint."
  Guinn reappointed Neilander to a full four-year term, which began in 
January 1999.
   Neilander said the control board will have to continue closely 
monitoring the fast-changing business of Internet gambling. He also 
wants to streamline the board's regulations.
   Neilander said he plans to meet with Scherer and Siller soon to 
discuss the division of the board's administrative responsibilities.
     As chairman, Neilander will earn an annual salary of $105,886; 
the two remaining board members earn $98,457.

    DuCharme applauded Guinn's choice to succeed him at the helm of 
the control board.
   "I know it was a tough decision for the governor as all three men 
are highly qualified," DuCharme said. "I believe Dennis is an 
excellent choice, as he has the requisite skills and knowledge to 
lead the Gaming Control Board into the next decade."
   Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Brian Sandoval was also 
enthusiastic about Guinn's selection.
   "Dennis and I have been in constant communication on the issues of 
Internet gaming and the proposed federal college sports betting ban," 
Sandoval said. "Dennis has a comprehensive knowledge of the gaming 
regulations, and has the very special ability to look forward and 
anticipate issues likely to become important in the future."

    Prior to his board service, Neilander worked for Nevada's 
Legislative Council Bureau and was the primary staffer for both the 
Assembly and Senate Judiciary committees.
   A Denver native, Neilander earned a political science degree from 
the University of Northern Colorado and a law degree from the 
University of Denver.
   Neilander intends to continue living in Carson City; he said he and 
his family enjoy its small-town feel. Neilander will continue 
commuting to Las Vegas for control board or gaming commission 
meetings.
 The agencies rotate their monthly meetings between Las 
Vegas and Carson City.
   Neilander and his wife have two children.

   Neilander said his family was a little nervous about his appointment.
    "I work a lot of hours as it is, so they're concerned about the 
job's demands, but they know I'm devoted to them," he explained. 
 

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