Open letter to Mark Gearan

Congratulations on your appointment as chair of the New York Gaming Commission, which I hope the Senate will soon confirm.  I read about the appointment in a recent Times Union story, which suggests you have little or no experience in the industry.  While no doubt you will be a quick study, and will rely on staff with industry experience, I hope you also will consider allowing formal representation of the gambling consumer either on your staff or on an advisory committee.  Such representation will provide you with a more balanced view of siting and operational issues, since the industry no doubt will be exerting as much influence over your commission as it can. I also strongly suggest you reach out to the gaming regulators in neighboring states for the benefit of their experience.  In particular, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have somewhat unique policies that apply particularly to blackjack, and you should be aware of them and how they have worked out for both the industry and the consumer.  I hope a hallmark of your administration will be honesty in the form of full disclosure to the consumer.  I also hope that, in addition to and more important than showing tangible concern for problem gamblers, you will seek to educate consumers and potential consumers to help prevent them from becoming problem gamblers.

Gaming regulators face an inherent conflict of interest, since the entity you regulate exists largely to generate tax revenue for the 
State and its subdivisions.  I hope that conflict won’t result in undue deference to the industry, and that New York will become a model for enlightened regulation that entertains and accommodates the views of all interested stakeholders.  


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