Former Nevada Governor Joins MGM to Drive Casino, Betting Expansion


Nevada’s former Governor assumes a new role at MGM as part of the company’s casino, sports betting expansion plans

Former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has returned to the private sector just days after he surrendered power to his successor Steve Sisolak. Mr. Sandoval has joined Las Vegas casino and hospitality powerhouse MGM Resorts International as its new President of Global Gaming Development, the company announced yesterday.

Formerly Nevada’s top legislator, Mr. Sandoval’s responsibilities at MGM will include driving the gambling operator’s global expansion, most importantly in Japan where it will be bidding for one of three integrated resort licenses.

The newly appointed President of Global Gaming Development will also focus on “state public policy efforts around sports gaming” as MGM is looking to cement itself as a leader in the growing sports betting field.

Commenting on the latest addition to the MGM’s management team, company Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said that Mr. Sandoval “brings an unparalleled level of skill, leadership, and experience,” and that they will “benefit greatly from his in-depth expertise in gaming, public policy, and economic development.”

The former Nevada Government also previously served as a member of the state’s Gaming Commission. At the age of 35, he was appointed as the regulator’s youngest-ever Chairman in 1999.

Japan Expansion Push

Of his new role, Mr. Sandoval said that it was really important to him to find the right professional opportunity that best suited his experience as a lawmaker, gaming regulator, Attorney General, federal judge, and most recently as a Governor of Nevada.

Mr. Sandoval also praised Mr. Murren for forming “critical relationships in Japan and in sports” and said he is looking forward to building upon that strong foundation.

The newly legalized Japanese casino market is actually a core element in MGM’s international expansion strategy. Japanese lawmakers are expected to open the bidding process for three licenses for the operation of casino resorts in the country by the end of the year. And MGM has long ago pitched massive plans for the development of such resort to enter that nascent gaming market. Many believe that Japan could quickly become one of the world’s largest casino jurisdictions in terms of revenue generated, but it will not be before the early-to-mid 2020s when the nation’s first gambling venue opens doors.

MGM has previously said that it could spend up to $10 billion to build a “uniquely Japanese” integrated resort, in case it wins a coveted license.

As Mr. Sandoval is assuming the role of President of Global Gaming Development, MGM’s President Bill Hornbuckle will now lead global casino marketing and will be tasked with leveraging the company’s worldwide assets to “drive revenue growth and maximize the value contributed from [its] assets”, it also became known on Tuesday.

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