The Michigan Gaming News Letter

Mich. Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard S. Kalm to leave post

Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director   Richard S. Kalm today announced in a press release that  he will leave his position following the successful launch of online gaming and sports betting. Kalm has offered to remain in his post until Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appoints a successor and the appointment is confirmed by the Michigan Senate.

“I’ve had a great run and accomplished my final goal with the successful launch of online gaming and sports betting,” Kalm said. “My career has been devoted to public service, and I have enjoyed serving the people of Michigan since 2007 as MGCB executive director. Our agency’s mission has grown since my initial appointment, and I am proud of the MGCB’s accomplishments during my tenure.”


Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced via a press release the appointment of Henry L. Williams, Jr. as executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

“The mission of the Gaming Control Board is to ensure the conduct of fair, honest gaming,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With the nomination of Henry Williams, I am confident that the board will continue protecting and advancing the interests of Michiganders and the state.”

Henry L. Williams, Jr. currently serves as the deputy director of the casino operations division for the Michigan Gaming Control Board. In his role, he provides oversight of the Enforcement Section, Employee Licensing, Gaming Lab, and the Disassociated Persons program. Williams has worked for the board since 2001, previously serving as a regulation and enforcement officer, regulation manager of the employee licensing section, and then acting deputy director before becoming deputy director of the casino operations division. Prior to his time with the MGCB, Williams was a social worker and served in various positions within state government as a juvenile justice worker, family independence specialist, protective services worker, and probation officer.

Williams is the board president for the Detroit Recovery Project, Inc. and a long-time participant of the Adopt-A-Child Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Marygrove College. Henry lives in Detroit with his wife Juvette and their daughter.

“This appointment affirms my life lessons to my daughter–what hard work, dedication, commitment, and treating people fairly with dignity can do,” said Williams.“I will be able to continue serving the citizens of the great State of Michigan as I have done over the past 24-years with pride and sincere joy.”

Williams is appointed for a six-year term which will commence after the approval of the Senate by a record roll call vote. He succeeds Richard Kalm who has served as the Executive Director of the MGCB since 2007, first appointed by Governor Granholm and then reappointed by Governor Snyder in 2013.

“I have worked closely with Henry for 14 years and promoted him to his current MGCB position as deputy director,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “I believe Gov. Whitmer has made a good choice in appointing Henry to be the next executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.”

“Mr. Williams is the consummate professional; he treats everyone with respect and courtesy regardless of position, both at the casinos and with his colleagues at the MGCB. We know Mr. Williams to be fair, respectful, and honest, with his primary mission being preserving and protecting the integrity of gaming in Michigan,” said Bruce Dall the President of Motor City Casino, John Drake the Vice President and General Manager of Greektown Casino, and David Tsai the President and COO of MGM Grand Casino. “In our view, there is no person more qualified than Mr. Williams to take the helm of the MGCB at this time. His decades of experience, and his understanding of both the casino industry and agency that regulates us are simply unique.”

The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the state of Michigan. It provides Detroit commercial casinos gaming operations licensing and regulation, licenses and regulates online gaming and sports betting operators, platform providers and suppliers, regulates pari-mutuel horse racing and casino-style charitable gaming, and audits tribal gaming compact agreement compliance. The executive director performs duties assigned by the five-member board related to the regulation of three casinos in Detroit and supervises the employees of the board.


The Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”) authorized the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan and their platform provider partner, Parx Interactive, to launch internet casino gaming under the Gun Lake/Parx brand at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 23 according to a press release issued by the MGCB.

“We welcome the addition of Gun Lake Casino and partner Parx to Michigan’s growing online gaming market of 13 operators and providers,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “Their participation will generate revenue to support education, economic development and the Gun Lake Band’s tribal community.”

After all regulatory requirements are met, the Gun Lake Band will receive authorization to offer online sports betting at a later date.

Currently, 11 other operators and providers run both forms of gaming, and another operator and provider offers online sports betting only.

Authorized online gaming operators and their platform provider operators are listed on the MGCB website.

When Kalm was appointed in 2007, Detroit’s commercial casinos were still building their hotels. He soon faced the challenge of protecting the state’s interests during the Greektown Casino bankruptcy proceedings from 2008 until 2010.

Kalm also moved the agency’s headquarters to existing Cadillac Place state office space in Detroit from rented space in East Lansing.

“The agency was now closer to the entities we regulated, and we achieved cost savings,” he said.

During Kalm’s MGCB tenure, the agency’s mission grew from regulating the Detroit casinos and auditing the 12 federally recognized tribes’ compliance with gaming compacts signed with the State of Michigan.

Following a 2010 executive order, the MGCB became the regulator for pari-mutuel horse racing. Another executive order in 2012 moved oversight of millionaire parties, commonly known as charitable poker, to the MGCB from Michigan Lottery.

The MGCB added online gaming and sports betting regulation to its mission after Gov. Whitmer signed the gaming bills package in December 2019. Online gaming and sports betting is off to an impressive start in Michigan with a combined $259 million in gross receipts collected between the launch on Jan. 22, 2021, and March 30. The resulting tax revenue will help educate children, fund economic development and support tribal communities across the state.

“I appreciate the opportunity Governor Whitmer gave me to stay on and oversee the launch of online gaming,” Kalm said. “It has been my pleasure to work with everyone involved in online gambling and sports betting in Michigan, including the commercial and tribal casinos, the gaming suppliers, the Governor’s Office, other state departments and the Legislature.”

In 2020, Kalm oversaw the closures of the three Detroit commercial casinos and pari-mutuel racetrack Northville Downs due to COVID-19 public health concerns. The agency, while working remotely, concurrently developed rules for online gaming and sports betting, which were approved by the Michigan Legislature in early December and enabled the recent launch of online gaming and sports betting. Michigan was the first U.S. state to license both commercial and tribal casinos for online gaming and sports betting.

Kalm also guided the 2020 launch of mobile wagering on live and simulcast horse races.

“The agency adapted quickly in 2020, helping the casinos and the track shut down safely and developing guidelines for the resumption of business when the orders changed,” Kalm said. “As we note the success, we also need to keep problem gambling and prevention and treatment resources a part of the ongoing conversation about gambling in Michigan.”