The Michigan Gaming Control Board named Henry Williams as its new executive director on Monday, several days after Williams received confirmation from the Michigan Senate.
Williams was confirmed by the Senate May 13 by a 34-1 roll call vote. Williams, who has 20 years of experience working for the board, will replace outgoing executive director Richard S. Kalm.
“I am honored to begin my appointment as executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board,” Williams said in a statement. “I look forward to leading the agency’s continuing success and thank Richard for his leadership and the opportunities he provided that paved the way for my appointment.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Williams’ appointment to a six-year term as executive director of the MGCB on April 23. Williams had served as deputy director for the MGCB’s casino operations division. In that role, Williams provided oversight of the division’s enforcement section, regulated commercial casinos in Detroit, and oversaw the agency’s Gaming Lab as well as self-exclusion programs for problem gamblers.
“The mission of the Gaming Control Board is to ensure the conduct of fair, honest gaming,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With the nomination of Henry Williams, I am confident that the board will continue protecting and advancing the interests of Michiganders and the state.”
Slight decrease in April handle
Last month, the online sportsbook handle statewide hit $249.9 million, a decrease of more than 30% from March’s total of around $359 million. The sharp decline reflects the impact of March Madness over the previous month, during the bulk of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
With no major sporting events on the calendar, online sportsbook handle in Michigan fell 30% from March to April. @jeffedelstein on the stats from the past month: https://t.co/bBKh1rSm3U pic.twitter.com/F5pidTLzcC
— MI Bets (@MichiganBets) May 14, 2021
Michigan will be without a local team in the NHL and NBA postseasons. In the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings won 19 of 56 regular-season games to tie for last with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Central Division. The Detroit Pistons, meanwhile, finished with a record of 20-52, placing last in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Nevertheless, several northern Michigan casinos are located near the Wisconsin border in a region populated by fans of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 3-seed Bucks will open the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the 6-seed Miami Heat next weekend. A deep run by the Bucks in the playoffs could bolster the Michigan handle on basketball in May and June.
Williams began his career in state government in 1997. He has previously worked in various roles for the state as a juvenile justice worker, family independence specialist, protective services worker, and probation officer.