MGC Executive Director Karen Wells stepping down in July

Letter of Resignation
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A few weeks ago the Massachusetts Gaming Commission discussed the wages and bonus for MGC Executive Director Karen Wells. The consensus was that Wells deserved a bonus given that she shepherded sports betting into the state, successfully launching an entirely new gambling vertical.

However, while the commissioners agreed to a raise, Wells has nonetheless decided to move on. She tendered her resignation and will be stepping down from her role on July 14.

The MGC is now on the hunt for a new executive director. In past meetings, the commissioners have also considered the idea of some sort of deputy director, as the number of licensees in the state has essentially quadrupled with the launch of sports betting.

“On behalf of my fellow commissioners I want to thank Karen for her contributions to the MGC over her ten years of service and for the leadership she has provided as executive director,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. “Karen is the model of a leader, and her influence can be seen in everything the MGC does. The MGC’s effectiveness as a regulator is a direct reflection of Karen’s efforts and her ability to build, motivate and direct the MGC team. Her strategic abilities and steady presence enabled the MGC to stand up a sports wagering industry committed to consumer protections in a timely fashion. We wish her the very best in the future.”

Wells took on the role of full-time Executive Director in 2020 but has been with the MGC since 2013. In addition to two stints as the interim Executive Director, Wells previously served as director of the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau.

“Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege of working for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, first as the Director of the IEB and for the last three years as the Executive Director,” said Karen Wells. “I’ve worked across the agency since its formation with commissioners and staff who are dedicated public servants, committed to making sure the regulation of the gaming industry in Massachusetts focuses on ensuring the public confidence in the integrity of our operations. Together this team created the infrastructure for a new state agency, opened three casinos, weathered a pandemic, and launched the new legal sports wagering industry. Today the agency’s core responsibilities are operating smoothly, and I have every confidence our team will continue the great work we have done together over the years. I will be forever thankful for the support I received from my colleagues, commissioners, and our licensees.”

The plans for how the Commonwealth will search for Wells’s replacement will be discussed at a future MGC meeting.