Fluharty Replaces Ford As Gaming Council President

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States announced its president, Indiana state Senator Jon Ford, is taking a job in the private sector and will be replaced by West Virginia state Rep. Shawn Fluharty (l.).

Fluharty Replaces Ford As Gaming Council President

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) recently announced West Virginia state Rep. Shawn Fluharty will replace Indiana state Senator Jon Ford as president, effective October 15. Ford is stepping down from the Indiana Legislature to take a position at the trade association Reliable Energy.

Fluharty said, “Legislators, gaming regulators and gaming operators from around the country owe Senator Ford a debt of gratitude for his leadership to the industry. Jon never discussed party affiliation or played politics. His modus operandi was about how regulated gaming can bring economic opportunities and jobs to not only his district, but the entire country. Jon will be a friend for life. He helped bring the organization to another level and I look forward to continuing that progress as president of NCLGS.”

Ford stated, “It’s been a great honor to serve the people of Indiana for the past decade. Along with education, economic development through regulated gaming has been a passion of mine in the Senate. Gaming policy in Indiana, just like at NCLGS, is a bipartisan endeavor. You can work across party lines and if you get good results, you’ll be able to provide great jobs and economic development for your constituents.”

Ford continued, “I found working with NCLGS to be very refreshing because the organization is built around the principles of getting the best and the brightest in the gaming industry into one room to discuss the issues of the day. The organization helped me learn about all aspects of gaming, from horseracing to lotteries and casinos to digital gaming and sports betting.”

Ford played a significant role in the effort to legalize online sports betting, which still is not a reality in Indiana. As part of the sports betting bill he sponsored, he led the effort to relocate two riverboat casinos on land, including one in his district in Terre Haute.

In an interview with PlayUSA, Ford said, “I think the problem in Indiana is very similar to what we’re seeing across the country in that a lot of people have no idea or understanding of what iGaming is, and that includes legislators. So, I think for iGaming to move forward in this country, we need to do a better job as an industry explaining what it is. I think a lot of folks thought it would be easy as sports wagering was. But everybody knew what sports betting was about.”

Ford added brick-and-mortar casinos in Indiana need to work together to lobby the legislature and their communities to gain support for online casinos.

Ford said his expanded gambling successes represent some of his major accomplishments during his near-decade in the state legislature. “I think we were able to do a lot from legalizing daily fantasy sports to moving casinos inland during my tenure. And I never dreamt sports wagering would be as big as it is. I think those continue to be very positive impacts on Indiana gaming,” he said.

Looking ahead, Ford said, “I imagine I’ll try to stay involved in gaming one way or another because I think there’s a very bright future for gaming in the United States.”