Brian Ohorilko, the Administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) will resign after 20 years of service, as announced Tuesday. He has been the commission’s head for the last 12 years and held various other posts from 2004 to 2012.
As administrator of the regulatory body, he has been in charge of monitoring casino gaming, sports betting, fantasy sports contests, and pari-mutuel racing in Iowa. The commission will appoint a new administrator at its meeting, scheduled for January 25. Meanwhile, Tina Eick will serve as interim director. Applications for the position will be open until December 31 of the current year.
During his tenure, Ohorilko witnessed quite a lot of developments and challenges, including the legalization and fast-paced growth of the sports betting industry. Additionally, riverboat casinos transitioned to land-based locations. His resignation occurred at the end of a tumultuous year for Iowa’s gambling industry. In May, investigations have been launched on student-athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University over sports wagering in contravention of NCAA rules.
In a statement regarding Ohorilko’s forthcoming departure, the commission praised his contribution to the industry, his professional competence, and his integrity. Daryl Olsen, Chair of the IRGC, said the team had “a solid plan to move forward”. He also added: “We appreciate his twenty years of public service to the state and wish him well as he returns to the private sector”.
Although Mr. Ohorilko did not share details about his future professional plans, he will pursue new challenges in the private sector. He said that the timing felt right “to make this change at the end of the year” and that “gambling regulation in the State of Iowa will continue to be in great hands”.
Iowa Sees a Decrease in Gambling Revenue in FY 2023
Concerning sports betting, Brian Ohorilko shared that, in his opinion, the state of Iowa “has taken a careful and judicious approach to its legalization”. He added that similar to other industries, the gambling sector will see new regulations, as “technologies and policy evolve over the next few years”. The state of Iowa saw a decrease in gambling revenue for FY 2023. The decline concerns both sports betting and the state’s 19 licensed casinos.
The total volume of sports bets made in 2023 amounted to $2.247 billion, equating to an 8.5% decline when compared to figures from 2022. As far as gambling revenue at state-licensed casinos is concerned, the decline was not as sharp – 0.7%, from $1.766 billion for FY 2022 to $1.754 billion for FY 2023.
Ohorilko confirmed his decision to resign was not impacted by the ongoing investigation of student-athlete sports betting or by the gambling revenue figures.