Guin re-appoints Neilander to gaming control |

Guin re-appoints Neilander to gaming control

by Sharon Carter

One of Gov. Kenny Guinn’s first official acts has been to reappoint Minden resident and Gov. Bob Miller appointee Dennis Neilander, 37, to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Neilander, an attorney whose expertise is in gaming law and corporate finance, has served on the three-person board since Sept. 18, when Miller appointed him to replace board chairman, Bill Bible, who retired. Had he not been reappointed, Neilander’s term would have expired Jan. 1.

Board members are appointed to four-year terms.

“The job is challenging and involves making difficult decisions,” Neilander said. “Before an applicant receives a gaming license, we have to investigate his or her suitability, background and associates. In some senses it’s detective work. We also have to make sure applicants comply after they’re licensed and pay gaming taxes.”

Neilander said the Gaming Control Board also regulates all casino games and gaming devices to make sure they have integrity.

“It’s designed to insure the games are fair and patrons are paid when they win,” he said.

n Staff attorney. Before his appointment, Neilander served for more than three years on the Gaming Control Board staff as its chief of corporate securities. In that position he monitored and regulated the publicly traded companies involved in Nevada gaming. He worked for the Legislative Counsel Bureau as a staff attorney for the Nevada State Senate and Assembly judiciary committees before he joined the Gaming Control Board staff.

“Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time on acquisitions and mergers – Harrah’s acquired the Showboat and now the Rio, ITT acquired Caesars, then the Starwood and Hilton merged and Hilton acquired Bally. Now Hilton is talking about spinning off hotels and gaming as separate companies. We have to monitor everything.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board was created in 1959 as the state’s authority in gaming licensing and disciplinary matters. It has active operating regulatory authority over the daily activities of casinos. The board’s scope expanded in the 1960s, when large corporations, including some publicly held companies, became owners and operators of gaming properties.

n Nevada’s Big Three. Gaming authorities have the power to investigate any principal security holders – controlling stock holders, officers, directors and others who have a substantial involvement with a casino – to determine if they are suitable to be licensed. And if it determines gaming laws have been violated, the board can limit a casino’s gaming license, make it conditional, suspend it or revoke it. The board can also fine people involved at its discretion.

Currently the Gaming Control Board has offices in Carson City, Las Vegas, Reno and Elko. It employs more than 400 people, half of them in Las Vegas.

When he is not helping watch over the state’s gaming industry, Neilander, who moved his family to Minden in 1993 from Carson City, said he likes to spend time with his wife, Melinda, who teaches at Minden Elementary School, and their two children, Denai, 9, and Christian, 5.

“In my spare time, I enjoy coaching a youth soccer team and helping with T-ball,” Neilander said. “I like to keep a low profile. And, I try to keep a balance in my life.”

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