**Sharon M. Avery Steps Up as Acting Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission**

  • Key takeaway one: Sharon M. Avery has been appointed as the Acting Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), effective May 15, 2024.
  • Key takeaway two: This announcement follows her recent appointment as Associate Commissioner by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
  • Key takeaway three: Avery will serve in this dual capacity until a new Chair, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, assumes the role.

In a groundbreaking move that signals a new chapter for the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the agency has announced the appointment of Sharon M. Avery as its Acting Chair, effective May 15, 2024. Avery, who was recently appointed by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to a three-year term as Associate Commissioner, starting May 6, 2024, will now hold both titles simultaneously. This strategic decision ensures the NIGC's leadership remains uninterrupted and dynamic during this transitional period.

A New Leader at the Helm

Avery's tenure as Acting Chair promises to bring a fresh perspective and steadfast leadership to the NIGC. With the same statutory authority as a Senate-confirmed Chair, Avery is poised to lead the agency with full authority, overseeing its crucial role in the regulatory oversight of tribal gaming facilities across the United States.

Speaking of her new role, Avery expressed deep gratitude and determination, stating, “I am humbled the administration has entrusted me with the distinguished opportunity to serve as the NIGC Acting Chair. In this capacity, and to the best of my abilities, I will diligently execute my duties and responsibilities designated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to continue the Agency’s regulatory oversight of tribal gaming facilities without disruption, until a permanent Chair has been confirmed.”

Bringing a wealth of experience to her new role, Avery is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and has been a part of the NIGC for over four years, serving as an Associate General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel. Her deep-rooted connection to tribal legal affairs and governance is further exemplified by her extensive tenure in the legal department of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, where she most recently served as the Tribe’s General Counsel for Tribal Operations.

Forward Momentum

Avery's appointment comes at a pivotal time for the NIGC as it navigates the complexities of regulating the fast-evolving tribal gaming industry. Her unique blend of legal expertise and intimate understanding of tribal operations positions her as an ideal leader to steer the Commission through its next phase of growth and challenges.

The gaming industry and tribal communities alike await Avery's influence on the NIGC's strategic direction, regulatory frameworks, and initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable growth and prosperity in tribal gaming. As Avery takes the helm, her leadership is set to shape the future of tribal gaming regulation, emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and adherence to the principles of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

A Transitional Era

The search for a new Chair, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, is underway. Until then, Sharon M. Avery's role as Acting Chair underscores the NIGC's commitment to continuity, stability, and progress. Her historic appointment marks a significant milestone in the agency's journey, symbolizing a blend of tradition and forward-looking leadership in the realm of tribal gaming.

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