Judd-Stein to Leave Massachusetts Gaming Commission Next Month

Judd-Stein to Leave Massachusetts Gaming Commission Next Month
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The search is on for a new member of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Gov. Maura Healey revealed Tuesday that Chair Cathy Judd-Stein would retire from public service once her term ends March 21.

Judd-Stein has worked for more than a quarter century for the state under both Republican and Democratic governors, with the last five years as MGC chair after she was appointed by then-Gov. Charlie Baker in 2019. Unlike most states, MGC commissioners serve full-time to license operators and develop and enforce rules for casino gaming, horse racing and sports betting.

As chair, Judd-Stein helped launch Massachusetts sportsbooks in just six months after lawmakers passed the legislation. Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks began opening on Jan. 31, 2023, and online sports betting apps became available on March 10, 2023.

Her tenure also included overseeing the gaming industry as it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and the settlement of the state’s suitability review against Wynn Resorts. The commission fined the Las Vegas-based company $35 million for failing to disclose that founder and former CEO Steve Wynn was the subject of sexual misconduct allegations as the company applied for and ultimately received a license to operate Encore Boston Harbor.

“Since 2019, I’ve worked alongside creative, committed, and generous colleagues, including my fellow commissioners and the dedicated team responsible for making the MGC run well,” Judd-Stein said. “I am proud of the work we accomplished together — the hard decisions, the important research, the best-in-class policies, and standing up a new industry in Massachusetts as sports wagering was legalized.”

Just this month the MGC presided over the departure of WynnBet and Betr from the Massachusetts betting apps market.

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About The Commission

The MGC is led by five commissioners. The commonwealth’s governor, attorney general and state treasurer each get to appoint one member and the other two members are voted on by the three state officers. The governor also designates who serves as its chair.

Healy will appoint Judd-Stein’s replacement, and her office has already started the search process. Applications will be accepted through March 18, and more details are available at mass.gov/how-to/application-for-gaming-commissioner.

“Our administration looks forward to beginning the search for an experienced leader to take the reins of this important commission,” Healey said.

There is no timeline for naming a replacement, but Healey’s Press Secretary Karissa Hand said the governor’s office “will work diligently” to appoint a new commissioner. Healey’s replacement won’t necessarily become chair of the commission. The governor may choose to name a sitting member of the panel to lead it as she picks Judd-Stein’s replacement as commissioner. The MGC’s other commissioners are Eileen O’Brien, Bradford Hill, Nakisha Skinner and Jordan Maynard.

Massachusetts now has six active sports betting operators. They are BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, ESPN BET, Fanatics Sportsbook Massachusetts and FanDuel. State law permits up to 15 companies to have licenses.

State law requires that no party hold more than three of the five seats. Judd-Stein is unenrolled, commission spokesperson Thomas Mills told BetMassachusetts.com. An unenrolled voter in Massachusetts is what most states call independent. Maynard is also unenrolled, while O’Brien and Skinner are registered Democrats and Hill is a Republican. Judd-Stein’s departure also comes as the commission continues its search for a permanent executive director. Karen Wells left that post in July, and General Counsel Todd Grossman has been serving as the MGC’s interim executive director since then.

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Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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