Nevada gaming regulator draws criticism for ‘second-guessing’ MGM Resorts’ recent business decisions

April 10, 2023
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The pushback came after Gaming Control Board member George Assad questioned a recent application to delay interactive gaming.

Nevada Gaming Control Board member George Assad has received some criticism for questioning MGM Resorts International’s recent financial decisions, according to a local report in The Nevada Independent.

Assad made remarks during a recent Carson City public hearing while the panel considered an application MGM submitted that requested extended approval for its interactive gaming. He agreed with board Chairman Kirk Hendrick and board member Brittnie Watkins that MGM’s most recent request to delay interactive gaming in Nevada “seemed excessive.”

He specifically commented on the company’s business success at its MGM Springfield in Massachusetts destination by saying: “The operation [isn’t] doing so well.”

Assad further questioned why MGM had delayed its interactive gaming initiative by saying: “As a judge, we used to like the finality of cases.”

He also expressed concern for the decline in stock prices while he was a company shareholder.

MGM Springfield is one of three of the state’s casinos.

According to the local report, Assad addressed MGM Resorts attorney Chandler Pohl and said that he would “love to see MGM flourish and become one of the leaders in the industry again.”

In addition to his role on the control board, Assad has also served as a Las Vegas judge.

Former Nevada gaming attorney Tony Cabot pointed out the irregularity of critical comments toward business decisions coming from state regulators.

He told the Nevada Independent: “Short of an extraordinary event, it really isn't a regulatory concern or shouldn't be a regulatory concern as to the honest business decisions made by a company.

“Regulators shouldn’t be second-guessing the business decisions of a company under their control unless it impacts their ability to effectively go forward by going broke.”

During the last 40 years, Cabot has represented gaming clients in front of the control board.

MGM Resorts declined to comment on Assad’s remarks, said a company spokesperson.

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