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End of an era as Rebuck retires from New Jersey regulator

| By Robert Fletcher
David Rebuck has stepped down from his position as director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) with immediate effect.
New Jersey October

Rebuck exits after leading the New Jersey regulator for 13 years, making him the longest-serving director in DGE’s history. In total, he served the Garden State for more than 36 years.

Deputy director Mary Jo Flaherty will assume the role of interim director with effect from today (1 March).

She joined the DGE as its deputy attorney general in January 1988, providing legal advice and legislation.

In early 2010, he was assigned to the governor’s office as a senior policy advisor under Chris Christie, shortly after which he was nominated by Christie to lead the DGE. After becoming acting DGE director in April 2011, Rebuck was sworn in as director in January 2012.

His tenure coincided with a significant overhaul of the New Jersey Casino Control Act. This brought sweeping changes including the assignment to DGE of many responsibilities previously performed by the Casino Control Commission. In relation to this, Rebuck also oversaw the introduction of new casino regulations, with these adopted in December 2011.

Changing face of New Jersey gambling

However, by far the biggest changes during Rebuck’s time in office were the launch of legal online gambling and sports betting in New Jersey. 

David Rebuck NJDGE
Rebuck led the New Jersey regulator through a period of unprecedented change and expansion, generating strong returns for the state

In February 2013, New Jersey became the first state in the US to roll out legal internet casino gaming. Then, in August 2018, it also launched legal sports wagering following the repeal of PASPA.

Such has been the impact of this evolution that New Jersey has continued to hit major financial milestones in recent years. 

During 2023, total gaming revenue reached an all-time high of $5.78bn (£4.58bn/€5.34bn). Igaming revenue hit a record $1.92bn, while sports betting revenue exceeded $1.00bn for the first time, on the back of a record $11.97bn handle.

Lasting legacy

New Jersey attorney general Matthew Platkin paid tribute to the outgoing Rebuck. He highlighted how Rebuck had helped usher in a new era of gambling for New Jersey.

“Throughout his career, David has exemplified professionalism, innovation and leadership as the gaming industry transformed, first with the legalisation of Internet gaming in 2013 and then with the new era of sports gaming in 2018,” Platkin said. 

“His extensive knowledge of the gaming and casino industry has made New Jersey a recognised regulatory leader and pacesetter in the US.”

Rebuck also looks back on his time as director fondly, praising the work done by others to support the evolution of New Jersey gambling.

“I have always said the achievements at DGE have not been the result of any one person,” Rebuck said. “I have been privileged and grateful to work with an amazing team at DGE and to serve under two governors and eight attorneys general.”

Questions over replacement?

Rebuck’s replacement, Flaherty, will be stepping into his empty shoes immediately from today. Another long-serving member of the DGE, she joined the organisation in 1979. 

As deputy director, Flaherty holds various responsibilities. These include overseeing casino licensing, financial analysis and reporting, employee licensing, public records requests, equal employment opportunity within the industry and DGE, ethics compliance and the release of information to law enforcement agencies and gaming authorities.

Platkin welcomed Flaherty to the interim role, highlighting her long experience with the DGE.

“Mary Jo is a respected and talented lawyer,” Platkin said. “She brings with her over 40 years of experience of regulating the gaming industry within DGE. I am grateful for her stepping up to lead the division at this critical time.”

However, speaking to iGB, an anonymous source questioned Platkin’s decision to appoint Flaherty to the interim role.

“Whomever took Rebuck’s shoes was going to have a hard time to follow his legacy, but this was the last direction I had hoped the AG would go,” the source said.   

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