The Nevada Gaming Commission has a new member. As April was winding down, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo named George Markantonis to the position.
The former president and CEO of The Venetian is now a part of the five-person commission. Markantonis is replacing Las Vegas attorney Steven Cohen.
Lombardo touted Markantonis’ gaming experience in announcing the appointment.
“George is an experienced gaming executive with international and multi-jurisdictional experience, and I appreciate his willingness to serve our state. I know that George’s proven leadership, outstanding character and decades of experience will be a tremendous asset on the Nevada Gaming Commission.”
Markantonis has several years of gaming experience
Unlike his predecessor, Markantonis brings years of experience from the Nevada casino business. Former Gov. Steve Sisolak appointed Cohen to the commission in 2019. He chose not to be reappointed to the part-time position.
Former Judge Jennifer Togliatti was appointed chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) in 2021.
It’s somewhat surprising to learn that Markantonis is only the second former gaming executive in the history of Nevada to serve on the NGC. The only other NGC member with experience from the casino side was Michonne Ascuaga. The former executive at Sparks Nugget was appointed to the commission by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2015.
In a statement about his new position on the NGC, Markantonis said:
“I look forward to utilizing my industry experiences to serve the commission in its work protecting the integrity of Nevada’s gaming industry and the interests of all the Nevadans who rely on its ongoing success for their livelihoods.”
Markantonis brings both Las Vegas casino and international hospitality experience to the NGC. Markantonis was CEO of The Venetian for seven years. He departed shortly after The Venetian was sold and Apollo Gaming took over operations of the property.
Markantonis also brings years of hospitality experience to commission
Prior to his time at The Venetian, Markantonis worked at numerous companies in hospitality and gaming.
He worked with Westin Hotels & Resorts for 17 years. He had different roles with the company in South Africa, Canada and the US. His next stop was Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was the senior vice president of hotel operations.
Markantonis was also CEO for Kerzner International, where he helped to build out Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, as well as The Palm in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
He will now be a part of the commission that makes the final decision on licensing and other regulatory matters recommended by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
NGC enforces state laws on gaming
The NGC was created in 1959. The governor of Nevada appoints each of the five members on the commission to four-year terms. One member acts as chairman.
The NGCB makes recommendations to the NGC on gaming licenses. The commission has the ability to approve, restrict, limit, condition, deny, revoke, or suspend any gaming license.
Additionally, the NGC is responsible for adopting gaming regulations and to enforce the state laws governing gaming.