HomePublicationsCurrent NewsletterVolume 27Issue 15Senate Advice and Consent Committee Hears from MGCB Executive Director Appointee Henry Williams

On Thursday of this week, the Senate Advice and Consent Committee held a hearing on the Governor’s appointment of Henry Williams to serve as the new Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”).   Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Mr. Williams appointment last Friday.  As previously reported in Volume 27, Issue 14 of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter,  Mr. Williams has worked for the MGCB since 2001 serving in a wide variety of roles including management responsibilities for regulation and enforcement, employee licensing, and casino operations.    Most recently he has been a Deputy Director of the Casino Operations Division, and provided oversight for enforcement and employee licensing.   In a press release issued in connection with his appointment, current MGCB Executive Director Rick Kalm stated: “I have worked closely with Henry for 14 years and promoted him to his current MGCB position as deputy 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.”

At Thursday’s hearing, Mr. Williams met and testified to the Committee for over an hour, providing his insights of his philosophy on proper regulation and enforcement with regard to the gaming industry.  He made it clear that his philosophy is to provide a service to the industry ensuring proper regulation and to look for ways, within the confines of the Act, the Rules and the Internal Controls to eliminate unnecessary or overly burdensome regulatory requirements.   “I see it as a service to the industry, . . these are our customers”, he said.    “Throughout my career with the Gaming Control Board, I always like to review the Act, the Rules and the Internal Controls.  If we put some barriers in place for those businesses to operate, I like to look at those to see how we can scale those back.  If it is not codified that this has to be done, it protects the interests of the citizens of the state and ensures that there is fair and honest gaming, my question always is what is the risk?  As the industry comes and we review it, take a long look at it, a hard look at it, if they are right they are right. If there is no reason we should do it, I always look to scale them back.  I will continue to do that.”

Mr. Williams also addressed the need to be respectful of the sovereignty of tribal operators, and to be upfront and honest with an open door policy.   He gave a lot of praise to the tribes for the input they provided on the administrative rules for the rollout of iGaming and online sports betting.   Mr. Williams spoke on how he would guide his staff to strike the right balance in working with Tribes and stated he would emphasize: “educating our staff on the difference of the tribe’s sovereignty versus our oversight of what is going on online and ensuring that we maintain the dignity and respect that we should show to any other nation.”

The Senate Advice and Consent Committee intends to hold a vote on the appointment on Thursday, May 6th.  A roll call vote of the Senate is necessary to confirm Mr. Williams’ appointment.


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