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Gaming commission’s executive director stepping down

Ed Bedrosian is quitting his job as executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Ed Bedrosian is quitting his job as executive director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is in the market for a new top staffer. Ed Bedrosian, who has been the commission’s executive director since 2015, is leaving next week for a job in the private sector.

Bedrosian is returning to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, the international law firm where he worked before joining the commission, which regulates the state’s casinos. As a partner in the firm’s new Boston office, Bedrosian will work on issues related to sports betting.

“I came into this position with the goal of getting the commission up and running and opening casinos. I feel I have accomplished that, and it’s time to move on,” he said in an interview. “It’s an exciting time for new technologies and new opportunities in the gaming world as sports betting takes hold in different states.”

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Though gaming commission members make the major decisions regarding the gambling industry in Massachusetts, the 90-person staff — overseen by Bedrosian — plays a huge role in shaping policy.

Staffers gather the information that forms the basis for many of those big decisions. They also enforce state gaming law by vetting staffers, reviewing technology, and investigating allegations of wrongdoing.

Bedrosian, who had been a key aide to Martha Coakley when she was the state’s attorney general, joined the commission not long after the opening of the Plainridge Park slots casino in Plainville. During his four-year tenure, a lot has happened in the Massachusetts gaming business.

Since 2018 alone, the state’s first two full-service casinos have opened in Everett and Springfield, massively expanding the young industry here.

The runup to the opening last year of Encore Boston Harbor was particularly dramatic for Bedrosian’s staff.

Commission investigators carried out a lengthy investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn, founder of the casino’s parent company — placing a cloud over Encore’s prospects even as the $2.6 billion facility entered the final phases of construction. The commission ultimately allowed Wynn Resorts to keep its license, but hit the company with a $35 million fine. Steve Wynn, who resigned in February 2018, denies that he did anything wrong.

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In a statement, gaming commission chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said Bedrosian “was instrumental in guiding complex regulatory preparations to ensure the successful opening of both MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.”

“He consistently led and encouraged MGC staff to meet and exceed the demanding professional responsibilities required for what was no less than a true start-up operation,” she added

Now, with three casinos up and running — and the commission proceeding slowly on the question of whether to award a fourth license in Southeastern Massachusetts — the agency’s staff has been in transition.

Bedrosian’s departure follows the recent retirement of chief administrative officer Janice Reilly, who was the commission’s first employee.

Bedrosian was the second person to hold the position of executive director, after Rick Day, who was hired in 2013 and left two years later following another busy period in which the commission handed out the licenses for the state’s casinos.

Karen Wells, the commission’s deputy director and the director of its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, will serve as interim executive director — a role she also filled between Day’s departure and Bedrosian’s arrival.

Bedrosian departs on Jan. 10, a day after the commission meets to begin the search process for a new director.

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In his role at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Bedrosian said, he will be advocating for clients who are interested in the regulatory rollout of sports betting in states where it has been approved by lawmakers.

The firm, which opened a Back Bay office last year and now has 20 attorneys working at it, says its clients include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the PGA Tour, and sports betting companies FanDuel and DraftKings.

Massachusetts lawmakers have not yet decided whether to legalize sports betting, but under state law Bedrosian won’t be able to advocate before the gaming commission for a year. In addition, former commission employees who had “a major policymaking position” must wait two years before being employed by a licensee or applicant.


Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com.