Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Heralded On Third Anniversary

Written By T.J. McBride on May 29, 2024
MGCB executive director Henry Williams. On his third anniversary leading the MGCB, Henry Williams is being celebrated as one of the leaders of Michigan's robust gambling industry.

Henry Williams, one of the leaders of Michigan’s heralded gambling sector, is being celebrated on the third anniversary of becoming Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The celebration is deserved. Williams (above) has led many successful endeavors for the MGCB. And Michigan is one of the top gambling jurisdictions in the US thanks to a wide array of options, including online and retail casinos, sports betting poker and lottery.

In March, Michigan online casinos alone set a state record with $215.2 million in revenue.

With one of the largest suites of gambling offerings in the country, Michigan gambling regulation is paramount.

Williams’ 23 years in gambling helped him drive success at MGCB

Williams was appointed as the Executive Director of the MGCB on May 17, 2021. His term was set at six years. He was appointed because he has been in gambling for nearly a quarter century. He started 23 years ago and has grown his understanding of the industry every step of the way.

Over his last three years as Executive Director of MGCB, Williams has overseen $8.9 billion of adjusted gross revenue from online gambling, the three Detroit casinos and fantasy contest. That has generated $1.26 billion in gambling taxes for the state of Michigan. That helped Williams send $722 million in gambling taxes to the City of Detroit and another $978 million to Michigan’s School Aid Fund.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve at the helm of the Michigan Gaming Control Board for the past three years, leading a talented team of dedicated public servants,” Williams said in the release.

“Together, we have achieved remarkable success in overseeing the state’s gaming industry, resulting in significant multi-billion dollar revenues that benefit our state and its residents. I extend my sincere gratitude to Governor Whitmer for consistently supporting our budget requests and to the legislators for their bipartisan approval of our funding. Their continued support ensures the MGCB’s ability to effectively regulate the gaming industry and protect the public interest.”

Williams has many accomplishments over the last few years

There is a long list of accomplishments in the last three years for Williams.

One of the most important efforts was to establish a MGCB Responsible Gambling Section quickly after accepting the role.

In tandem with a dedicated sector focused on Michigan responsible gambling, Williams added community outreach programs that centered around responsible gambling. The staff of the responsible gambling sector maintained Disassociated Persons List. It also kept a Responsible Gambling Database to help those who feel they have a gambling issue.

One of its most successful responsible gambling campaigns was the ‘Don’t Regret The Bet’ which has now earned seven different awards for its impact, messaging and overall reach. The marketing campaign was developed alongside King Media.

At the forefront of MGCB’s crackdown on illegal gambling

Williams has also spent time trying to limit illegal gambling activities.

He has helped connect the MGCB with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to better reach business owners and continue the education of illegal gambling. This education-focused approach has put pressure on illegal operations to leave according to state.

There have also been improvements made internally at MGCB to better serve those trying to regulate gambling in Michigan.

Williams has added support services like lactation rooms for new mothers. There has been a push to add community volunteer programs to better serve the community. Additionally, Williams created higher levels for employees to grow into and pushed the total full time employees past 50.

It is safe to say the state is pleased with how well Williams has performed in his first three years. To end the press release announcing his milestone, the MGCB piled praise onto Williams.

“Participating in high-profile panel discussions at industry conferences and events, Williams continues to showcase his expertise through his thoughtful leadership and contributions to the evolution of best practices in gaming regulations — including having played a pivotal role in shaping a groundbreaking multi-jurisdictional agreement for poker operations by fostering cooperation and standardization among various participating states across the US.

“As the MGCB marks this significant milestone and the halfway point in Williams’ current tenure, the agency looks forward to a future marked by continued growth, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to excellence under Williams’ visionary leadership.”

Photo by Courtesy MGCB
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gambling landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

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