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Gambling Lobbyist’s Daughter Appointed to NY Gaming Commission

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Marissa Shorenstein, daughter of the influential gambling lobbyist Stuart Shorenstein, has been appointed to the New York Gaming Commission (NYGC) by State Governor Kathy Hochul.

The appointment has resulted in discussions about potential conflicts of interest due to Stuart Shorenstein’s extensive involvement in the industry. Stuart currently represents clients such as the Swedish online gambling firm Evolution. This company is actively pushing for online betting to be made legal in New York, which complicates Marissa Shorenstein’s role in the commission.

Concerns Over Conflict of Interest

John Kaehny, the executive director of Reinvent Albany, a government accountability group, expressed his disbelief at the appointment and called the situation absurd. Kaehny pointed out that there are numerous other boards and commissions to which the governor could have appointed Shorenstein.

The importance of impartiality and transparency in regulatory bodies, especially those associated with the iGaming industry, is regularly highlighted by government watchdogs. As such, there are concerns that Shorenstein’s position might be affected by her father’s industry ties.

New York Gaming Commission Defends Appointment

In response to the controversy, both Gov. Hochul’s office and Marissa Shorenstein have refrained from commenting. However, Lee Park, deputy executive director of the New York Gaming Commission, defended Shorenstein’s appointment and highlighted her extensive leadership experience and her adherence to high ethical standards.

The commission has pointed out its strict policies for recusals, mentioning that Shorenstein has already stepped back from cases that involve her father or his lobbying firm. It also clarified that the appointees, including Shorenstein, won’t be involved in decisions about issuing casino licenses in the downstate area, as this responsibility lies with an independent board.

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