Arizona Governor Hobbs has selected a tribal law expert to serve as the new director of ADG.

Arizona Gov. Hobbs Tabs Tribal Law Expert as New Director of ADG
Fact Checked by Young Ruth

The new director of the Arizona Department of Gaming has more than a decade of experience in tribal law and has just arrived in Phoenix.

Governor Katie Hobbs has selected Jaclyn Johnson from the law firm Rothstein Donatelli to head the department in charge of regulating Arizona sports betting. Johnson will take over the role from Ted Vogt, who was appointed by Doug Ducey and has served as director for the past four years.

Johnson will start her new role on February 21, along with a group of other department heads chosen by Hobbs, the recently elected Democratic governor.

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Born and raised on the Flathead Reservation in Montana, this individual is a proud descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. For over a decade, she has committed herself to working closely with tribes on gaming issues, including the development and negotiation of various gaming compacts and amendments.

Johnson graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the Arizona and Navajo bars in 2009. He has practiced law at two Southwest law firms, Rostein Donatelli and Quarles & Brady, since then.

Before taking on the leadership role of the ADG, Vogt served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, in addition to his previous position as an Arizona State Representative.

In a recent interview with yengols.com, the new ADG director shared their enthusiasm for progressing the department and increasing state revenue through the implementation of sports betting and casino gaming.

In an email, Johnson conveyed enthusiasm for exploring the inner workings of the Department, building upon its current strengths, and pinpointing areas for enhancement. Johnson emphasized the Department’s emphasis on tribal gaming regulation and highlighted their past experience in gaming and regulatory issues with tribes. Johnson is confident that this expertise will enhance the collaboration between the State and tribes in gaming regulation, resulting in improved oversight in the state.

Creating a fairer sports betting environment

Requests for comment from Hobbs’ office went unanswered, however, her official Twitter account mentioned the appointment of Johnson and other director-level members on Monday.

Hobbs stated on social media that she has complete faith in the skills and knowledge of the group’s leaders, affirming that they will play a crucial role in advancing Arizona towards a more inclusive future. She is confident that these directors are well-prepared to address the various challenges and opportunities within their departments and the state.

In September 2021, Arizona launched sports betting by granting 20 online betting licenses, with just 10 going to Arizona tribes. Of the 22 Native American tribes in the state, 15 are engaged in casino operations.

BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona, in partnership with the Arizona Cardinals, is one of the eight professional sports organizations that have been awarded out of the 10 online licenses available.

The fate of a tribal license owned by the Ak-Chin Indian Community is in question after its partner, Fubo Sportsbook, shut down within a year of its debut.

Johnson is excited about building on the progress of Arizona sports betting apps and improving the state’s casino gaming options. She is eager to take the department to new levels in the coming year.

The new ADG director is confident in Arizona’s potential for success in sports betting, as the state currently ranks sixth in the nation with a handle of $4.85 billion through October. They are optimistic about the growth opportunities for Arizona’s casino, boxing, and mixed martial arts industries as well.

Johnson expressed her enthusiasm for cultivating strong partnerships with stakeholders in Arizona’s event wagering, fantasy sports, racing, and boxing & MMA industries. Her goal is to advocate for top-notch gaming regulations to enhance the state and to promote gaming in a secure and responsible manner.

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Author

Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher has over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for publications including ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News. He currently holds the position of lead writer at yengols.com.

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