Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to appoint Marissa Shorenstein to the New York Gaming Commission has sparked controversy. Government watchdogs and critics question potential conflicts of interest and the commission’s ability to regulate the gambling industry fairly.

Opponents argue that there were other qualified candidates, raising suspicions that Shorenstein’s appointment may be influenced by her father’s connections in the gambling industry. Stuart Shorenstein, a prominent gambling lobbyist, has close ties to entities that do business with the gaming commission. This has led to speculation that Marissa’s appointment could result in favoritism and compromise the commission’s integrity.

The New York Gaming Commission oversees various aspects of the state’s gambling industry, including casinos, horse racing, the state lottery, sports betting, interactive fantasy sports, and charitable games. Transparency and avoiding conflicts of interest are crucial in ensuring fair supervision.

A particular concern is Marissa Shorenstein’s affiliation with Evolution Malta, a Swedish internet gambling company advocating for online betting legalization in New York. Stuart Shorenstein represents Evolution Malta, and the company has been accused of operating in sanctioned countries and violating US sanctions. Investigators claim they were able to access and play Evolution’s games from these blacklisted countries, raising questions about compliance with laws.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who chairs the state Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, has worked with Stuart Shorenstein on gaming matters. Addabbo supports legalizing remote gambling but opposes licensing firms that accept revenue from blacklisted countries or state sponsors of terrorism. Addabbo’s concerns extend to Marissa Shorenstein’s appointment, as her father’s clients have pending business with the gaming commission.

While the gaming commission defends Shorenstein’s appointment based on her qualifications and commitment to ethics, skeptics remain unconvinced. They argue that conflicts of interest cannot be easily dismissed, and an independent and unbiased gaming commission is crucial for maintaining industry integrity.

Marissa Shorenstein’s appointment to the gaming commission is not her first role in state governance. She previously led Governor Hochul’s transition team, showcasing her experience in government operations. However, her family’s ties to the gambling industry raise concerns about transparency and fairness in the commission’s decision-making process.

The controversy surrounding Shorenstein’s appointment highlights the need for transparent and impartial regulatory bodies in the gambling industry. As New York considers legalizing remote gambling and other gaming initiatives, it is essential to ensure oversight free from conflicts of interest, prioritizing the public’s interests.

In summary, Marissa Shorenstein’s appointment to the New York Gaming Commission has sparked controversy due to her familial ties to the gambling industry. Critics raise concerns about conflicts of interest and the commission’s ability to make impartial decisions. Upholding transparency and independence is crucial for preserving industry integrity and protecting the public’s interests.