Nevada’s Longest-Serving Gaming Commissioner Stepping Down

John Moran Jr., the longest-serving gaming commissioner in Nevada history, is leaving the agency this week after a record 14-year run.

Nevada Gaming Commission John Moran Jr.
Nevada Gaming Commission John Moran Jr.
Nevada Gaming Commission Chair John Moran Jr. is seen in a file photograph. Moran’s tenure as the longest-serving commissioner in Nevada history is coming to an end this week. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) was established through the 1959 passage of the Nevada Gaming Control Act. The commission’s primary responsibilities are to act on the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s recommendations regarding licensing matters, determining appropriate regulations as the industry evolves, and disciplinary actions.

Moran was appointed to the NGC by Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) in 2004. He received additional four-year terms from Governors Jim Gibbons (R) and Brian Sandoval (R). Current Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) named Moran chairman of the NGC in July of 2020 following the resignation of Tony Alamo.

Moran says his last meeting as NGC chair will take place tomorrow, September 23.

Before joining the NGC, Moran Jr. served as a commissioner and chair of the Colorado River Commission and Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission.

Moran Jr. comes from a family with long ties to law enforcement, his father serving as a deputy sheriff with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Moran Jr. took an interest in law, too. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University in Los Angeles in 1975 after receiving his undergrad from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 1971.

Prior to entering public service, Moran Jr. founded the Moran Law Firm.

Moran Moving On

John Moran told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview this week that he informed Sisolak three months ago regarding his plans to depart the commission. He explains that it was his career goal to serve on three Nevada state commissions, and chair all three.

Mission accomplished.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em,” Moran said in a reference to “The Gambler” song made famous by Kenny Rogers. “I’ve reached my goal some time ago, and have really enjoyed being a chairman. But it’s really time to move over and give somebody else a chance at it.”

The RJ reports that NGC Vice Chair Steve Cohen is the odds-on favorite to replace Moran.

Commissioners Needed

When Moran departs the NGC this week, the five-member commission will be down two commissioners. Sisolak has yet to appoint a replacement for former Commissioner Deborah Fuetsch, who announced in May that she was ending her term early to pursue other business endeavors.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is the top gaming regulatory agency in the state. The commission is “the final authority on licensing matters, having the ability to approve, restrict, limit, condition, deny, revoke, or suspend any gaming license,” the agency explains.

Commissioners serve in a part-time capacity, and typically meet once a month. Moran’s 2020 pay and benefits for serving as NGC chair totaled $54,483.49.

The chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board — a full-time position — comes with an annual salary of $158,879. The post is currently occupied by J. Brin Gibson, who was appointed to the post last November by Sisolak.

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