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Gaming Guru

Cy Ryan
 

Clayton Named to Control Board

8 February 2005

and Liz Benston

Gov. Kenny Guinn today named Mark Clayton of Las Vegas to the state Gaming Control Board to replace Scott Scherer, who did not seek reappointment to a four-year term.

Clayton, 39, is vice president of corporate law for Caesar's Entertainment. He will take over his state job Feb. 21 and will earn $113,843 per year.

Guinn said, "Mark Clayton is one of the state's finest attorneys in the field of gaming law, and he also has previous experience working with the gaming control board dating back to the 1990s.

"He brings a superior wealth of knowledge to the position, particularly given his extensive knowledge of corporate financial matters," Guinn said. "I am very confident he is up to the task and that he will do an excellent job."

Clayton previously served as chief of corporate securities for the Control Board from 1993-1995.

Clayton has been with Caesar's Entertainment since July 2001. Before that he was vice president and general counsel for Aladdin Gaming Holdings and Aladdin Gaming of Las Vegas as well as vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary for Showboat Inc., of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas gaming consultant Steve DuCharme, former chairman of the Gaming Control Board, called Clayton "the hardest worker I've ever seen in my life."

"I would say the state is very lucky to be able to pull him out of private practice," said DuCharme, whose wife worked with Clayton in the legal department at the Aladdin.

"He keeps his head down and does his job. I think he's an excellent choice."

Ray Koon, a casino consultant and former chief of investigations for the Gaming Control Board, said Clayton is an "outstanding appointment."

"Mark has a real appreciation for what the board does," he said. "He has an insight and perspective that would lend to him fitting in almost immediately."

Clayton also is capable of "calling the hard shots that sometimes need to be called," said Koon, who worked for the Control Board from 1962 to 1983.

Because of his industry experience, he may recuse himself from certain decisions. But that is common for members of the board and commission, he said.

"I think he would err on the side of caution where he would sense a potential conflict," Koon said.

Clayton began his law career in Nevada as an associate attorney for Vargas & Bartlett of Las Vegas in August 1990 before moving to the Control Board in May 1993.

Born in Nottingham, England, Clayton has lived with his family in Las Vegas since 1970. He gained his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in California. He graduated with honors from Washington University in Missouri with a double major in accounting and finance.

Before the announcement, Clayton met with Guinn in Carson City this morning to discuss the job. Scherer has joined the law firm of Hale Lane in Carson City.

Clayton was not available for comment on his appointment this morning.