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Sandoval will take job with MGM Resorts, work on casino company's expansion to Japan

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
GamingState Government
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A day after leaving office, former Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced he will be joining MGM Resorts as the casino giant’s President of Global Gaming Development.

MGM Resorts announced that Sandoval, 55, will be leading the company's “global expansion efforts,” including in Japan, and will focus on state policies on gambling and sports betting. It will mark his first foray in 20 years into the private sector after a succession of prestigious government posts.

“Finding the right professional opportunity to best suit my experience as a former legislator, gaming regulator, Attorney General, federal judge and Governor was important to me,” Sandoval said in a statement. “MGM Resorts is a global leader in gaming and entertainment and I look forward to joining the MGM team led by Jim Murren, someone who I greatly respect. Jim has formed critical relationships in Japan and in sports and I look forward to building upon this strong foundation.”

Sandoval completed a state trade mission to Japan along with several other governors in August 2018. Japan’s lawmakers legalized casino gambling last year, and gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson has called the arrival of casinos to the wealthy nation the “ultimate business opportunity.”

The Republican former governor, known as a steady and winsome negotiator, was the youngest-ever chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission earlier in his career. In the past few years as governor, he has led a gaming policy committee that has explored emerging fields such as E-sports and wrestled with the intersection of casinos and legal marijuana.

He ended his job at the helm of the state with high marks from voters and praise from his peers.

“Governor Sandoval brings an unparalleled level of skill, leadership and experience to the company, and we will benefit greatly from his in-depth expertise in gaming, public policy and economic development,” MGM CEO Jim Murren said in a prepared statement.

The casino giant, which recently announced layoffs to boost cash flow, also said that MGM President Bill Hornbuckle will lead “global casino marketing” and specifically focus on driving growth at the casino’s Macau properties.

MGM now has retained the services of the last upper-echelon retired Nevada politicians from each major party. Ex-Democratic Sen. Harry Reid also is affiliated with the casino company and along with ex-House Speaker John Boehner heads a think tank for MGM.

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