On October 1, 2015, the remaking of the Mississippi Gaming Commissioners was complete. On that date, new Commission Chairman Al Hopkins took the gavel from outgoing Chairman Nolen Canon and new Commissioner Tom Gresham took his seat to join Hopkins and Commissioner Jerry Griffith.
With these appointments, there is a complete changeover with respect to the makeup of the Commission from only a mere nine months ago. Since that time, Commissioners John Hairston and Wally Carter elected to resign from the Commission, opening seats for the appointment of Hopkins and Griffith. With Canon being subject to term limits, he was not eligible for reappointment, opening the way for Gresham to take a seat. Canon served with distinction for eleven years.
The talents and experience the new appointees bring to the table is appropriate and necessary. Hopkins is a noted successful Gulfport attorney, while Griffith (also a Gulfport resident) is a retired Internal Revenue Service administrator and Gresham is a successful statewide business leader.
While stability is important to strong gaming regulation, any time there is a change in leadership, there is an opportunity to take a fresh look and perhaps gain a new perspective. The newly appointed Commissioners are taking time to listen and learn as much as possible before contemplating any significant changes to the regulations in Mississippi.
Of major importance to the Commissioners and to the Mississippi gaming industry is keeping the Mississippi Gaming Commission at the forefront of gaming regulation in the United States and in line with other leading gaming jurisdictions. Consideration of new technologies and amenities such as skill based games should be high on the agenda to keep Mississippi casinos competitive in the regional gaming landscape.