01/29/2013 5:49PM

New York gambling agency gets acting head in Williams

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Robert Williams, the current director of the New York Lottery who is a former legal counsel for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, has been appointed as acting director of a new agency combining regulation of all forms of gambling in New York, a racing official with knowledge of the appointment confirmed on Tuesday.

Williams was appointed to the post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who holds the power to appoint five of the seven commissioners on the New York State Gaming Commission. The commission is scheduled to become active on Feb. 1, with the power to regulate all forms of gambling in New York, including horse racing and casinos.

The appointment was first reported by the Blood-Horse website.

In addition to his position with the state lottery, Williams is currently the head of the New York State Racing Franchise Oversight Board, which holds broad authority to review the operations of the New York Racing Association. From 2005-07, Williams was the executive director of the New York State Committee on the Future of Racing, a job that required Williams to evaluate proposals to take over NYRA’s franchise to operate New York’s three most prominent tracks. NYRA retained the franchise after filing for bankruptcy and handing its deeds over to the state.

The operations of the existing New York State Racing and Wagering Board will be folded into the New York State Gaming Commission. The previous chairman of the racing and wagering board, John Sabini, resigned earlier this year.