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Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard has stepped down, ending an almost 13-year tenure leading the regulatory panel. Bernhard led the commission longer than any other chairman.
Bernhard’s time included two major economic downturns that devastated the casino industry - the recession following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Great Recession that struck in 2008. Bernhard acknowledged the recession following Sept. 11 made it very difficult to attract tourists to Las Vegas.
He told KNPR said a regulators job is to put limits on the scope of that can be done with gaming regulations.
“But as long as they stayed within those limits they could be creative in their marketing practices and try to get the people here,” Bernhard said.
The commission under Bernhard licensed Wynn, Encore, CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and also approved private equity buyouts of several companies, including the $30 billion sale of Caesars Entertainment.
Bernhard, 65, has been chairman of the five-member commission since 2001 when he was first appointed by Gov. Kenny Guinn and reappointed by Govs. Jim Gibbons and Brain Sandoval. Bernhard said it was time for him to step down. Besides his position on the gaming commission, Bernard is a Las Vegas-based attorney with Kaempfer Crowell.
“I feel as young and inspired and passionate about our state and the regulatory industry as I did when I started,” Bernhard said. “Every day since then I’ve learned something new and I think that’s the key to the position.”
Las Vegas physician Tony Alamo Jr., a member of the gaming commission since 2008, was named chairman, while former Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy was named to the commission to serve out the last 10 months of Bernhard’s term.
Peter Bernhard, former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission