Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf named regulator and former state General Counsel Denise J. Smyler as the new chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, replacing David M. Barasch, who announced his retirement last week after six years on the board.
Wolf also announced the appointment of state official Nedia Ralston to the gaming board.
Smyler was appointed to the Gaming Control Board in 2019 after serving as general counsel, during which time she oversaw legal services for the governor, his staff and more than 30 state agencies.
During his time as board chairman, Barasch oversaw many changes in Pennsylvania gaming, including the addition of internet gaming, sports wagering and video gaming terminals at truck stops.
“The Gaming Control Board and the public benefitted from David Barasch’s deep experience and steady hand during the past six years,” said PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole in a statement. “At no time in the history of this agency were those qualities more important in a Board Chair than during the past year of unexpected and unprecedented disruptions to the gaming industry due to Covid-19.”
Ralston formerly was deputy finance director for Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign. Most recently, she was director of the Southeast Regional Office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Nedia has been a great asset to the commonwealth over the years and I am confident she will continue to be so in her new position,” Wolf said in a statement.