Gayle Cameron, last of original 5 MGC Commissioners, departs after 10 years with Commission
For 10 years, Gayle Cameron has served as a commissioner on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Appointed as one of the five original commissioners in 2012, Cameron was re-appointed five years ago by Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. Near the end of March 2022, Cameron’s second term came to a close, marking an end to her decade-long service to the MGC.
Prior to her time with the MGC, Cameron worked in law enforcement and retired from the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) as a Deputy Superintendent, the second-highest rank on that force. During her time with the NJSP she commanded the Investigations Branch, which has authority over regulatory and criminal investigations in New Jersey’s gaming industry.
Throughout her career she has offered her expert insight to gaming industry and law enforcement conferences and organizations on regulation, compliance, and leadership both nationally and internationally.
During her service to the MGC, Commissioner Cameron has brought her wealth of expertise to her role where she has been involved in the oversight and licensing of every casino in the Commonwealth. As she concludes her term as a member of the MGC, she reflected on the role she played and offers advice for commissioners who will join the MGC team.
How has the role of the Commission changed since you were first appointed?
When we started the commission, it was five commissioners and two staffers – we needed to build. We needed to figure out what subject matter experts we needed to hire. I’m walking away from this commission very proud of the team that we built and the work we do.
What is something you’re especially proud of accomplishing during your time as a commissioner?
I really am most proud of the team. Also, I’m proud of the way that we try to stay cutting-edge – and what I mean by that is we didn’t take someone else’s way of regulating [and apply it to Massachusetts]. We care about the integrity of the games, and we worked hard to explore best practices and what the potential risks are in Massachusetts. We have to understand what it will take for our licensees to be successful and what level of regulation is appropriate so the citizens can have faith this is being done in the right way.
What is something you wish you knew your first day as a commissioner that you know now? What piece of advice would you give to a new commissioner or that you will leave for those you’re currently serving with?
One of the adjustments we all have to make is [in respect] to the open meeting law – I don’t think any commissioner has worked in a setting where you couldn’t readily brainstorm with your colleague [unless it was in public]. In this role you have to get yourself as prepared as possible and then go into a public meeting and talk it out and make decisions in public. Those tuning into our meetings with an interest appreciate the fact that they see how we make our decisions – there’s nothing behind closed doors with this commission.
What is something the public doesn’t realize the gaming commission is responsible for?
I hope the public understands the amount of work staff does to understand the issues and really learn about a subject matter. For example, a lot of work has gone into preparing ourselves for the possibility of sports betting being legalized if the legislature does pass a bill.
How have the last two years impacted the way the MGC does business – for the better and worse?
I know I keep going back to our staff, but our IT staff was great, and we were prepared to work remotely. That helped tremendously. The downside was of course not seeing your colleagues in person.
How did your previous professional work inform your work as an MGC commissioner?
I was fortunate to end my career in New Jersey as the Deputy Superintendent in charge of statewide investigations, including all casino gaming investigations. I worked there as a young detective in Atlantic City with one casino after another, so I had a good working knowledge, from an enforcement standpoint, of casino gaming. Also, as Lieutenant Colonel in the [New Jersey] State Police, I had to interact with so many folks from the governor to the attorney general, so I understood the need to have partnerships and the need to work collaboratively.
What was one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had during your time at the Commission?
Being able to travel to international conferences and seeing how other regulators operate, I think, has been invaluable. There are best practices out there and being able to work with other regulators, develop a relationship with them, and learn from them has been important.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with every Commissioner the MGC has had since its inception, what’s something that has or hasn’t changed though about the MGC’s Commissioners since you began?
When I started, I was the only woman on this commission – it was me and four men. Now that dynamic has change and we have four women and one man. I’ll tell you what hasn’t changed, the commitment, the commitment to wanting to do this job well.
What are you most looking forward to after your time with the MGC comes to an end?
Well, I have a couple of goals, but what comes to mind is I need a lower handicap in my golf game. I’m looking forward to taking some time off, but I know I won’t be able to sit still for long. I’m sure there are opportunities for me to contribute. But I will really miss all the people I worked with at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.