Veteran Gaming Regulator Chosen As New Executive Director of PA Gaming Control Board
HARRISBURG: A regulator with 28 years of experience in gaming oversight and management has been chosen as the second Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Kevin O’Toole, currently a Commissioner on the Oneida Indian Nation Gaming Commission of New York and formerly a Deputy Attorney General with New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, was unanimously appointed by the Board after an extensive nationwide search. O’Toole’s appointment, like that of all Gaming Control Board employees, is contingent upon the successful completion of a background investigation that is being conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Gaming Control Board Chair Mary DiGiacomo Colins says the choice of Mr. O’Toole successfully ends a comprehensive search conducted by nationally-recognized firm Diversified Search of Philadelphia which included contact with over 200 individuals resulting in 25 submissions for the position encompassing professionals in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
“There was tremendous interest in this position from a very diverse group of individuals possessing gaming experience from many established jurisdictions,” Chairman Colins says. “In addition to finding an outstanding leader in Mr. O’Toole, we also discovered from the applicants that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is viewed very positively throughout the regulatory industry for its strict oversight and swift work on making this state a major gaming jurisdiction.”
O’Toole says he is looking forward to assisting the Board in maintaining its close working relationship with other Commonwealth agencies and the Legislature.
“As the gaming industry continues to grow and mature within Pennsylvania, the Gaming Control Board will likewise mature in its role as an effective regulatory agency ensuring the integrity of legalized gaming throughout the Commonwealth,” O’Toole says. “I am looking forward to lending my professional experience to that process and working closely with the Board in its efforts to fulfill its very important mission to oversee the continued growth and regulation of casinos in the Commonwealth.”
O’Toole, who earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce and his Juris Doctor Degree from the Rutgers University School of Law-Camden, has served the Oneida Indian Nation as a Commissioner, its chief regulatory officer, since February 2007 after serving as Executive Director for 10 years. The Oneida Indian Gaming Commission is the primary regulator of the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, NY, a 700 room hotel, convention and gaming facility with over 3,600 employees and offering 2,250 gaming machines, 80 table games and 5 golf courses.
Leaders in the Oneida Nation expressed high praise for Mr. O’Toole’s talents and the benefit his hiring will have to Pennsylvania gaming.
“In their search for the best qualified person to head their gaming oversight operations, Pennsylvania found the right person in Kevin O’Toole,” says Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Chief Executive Officer. “They will learn what we have known for nearly 12 years that hiring people with excellent credentials results in an outstanding organization. Turning Stone Resort and Casino and all of Indian gaming are pleased to see one of our own recognized for the fine job they do.”
Keller George, past Chair of the Oneida Indian Nation Gaming Commission echoed those sentiments by stating, “Kevin O’Toole is very skilled in the gaming industry and very good at what he does. He will be sorely missed in New York, but a great gain for Pennsylvania and a hire that speaks well of the background gained from Tribal gaming.”
Prior to his leadership in New York gaming, O’Toole worked for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for 16 years, including Deputy Attorney General and Supervisor of the Casino Investigations Section. In his role, he oversaw 30 attorneys or investigative agents, and was responsible for prosecuting complex civil litigation. In addition, his work in New Jersey included the drafting of proposed legislation to amend the Casino Control Act, involvement in the opening of new casinos to insure readiness to meet regulatory standards, and acting as liaison with the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling.
Mitchell A. Schwefel, retired Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement says O’Toole is an extremely bright, capable, and highly motivated regulator who understands the intricacies of all facets of casino operations.
“Based upon his experience as a Deputy Attorney General with New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement and as Executive Director of a highly successful Indian casino regulatory body, he is eminently qualified to meet the challenges of gaming regulation in Pennsylvania,” Schwefel says.
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