Sandra Douglass Morgan has seen a lot of changes in the five years since she was named to the Nevada Gaming Commission.
The same year she became a gaming regulator, the Supreme Court cleared the path for legalized sports betting. Since then, 32 other states and Washington, D.C., have launched sports betting.
During that time, Douglass Morgan went from gaming regulator to chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to the corporate board of directors for casino giant Caesars Entertainment. Now, she is president of the Las Vegas Raiders, making history as the NFL’s first woman of color to lead a team.
Douglass Morgan said her Black and Korean heritage may have helped put her in the spotlight, but she pointed to her work outside the world of sports as being key to bringing diversity to the Raiders’ front office.
“It’s been exhilarating. I’m incredibly blessed that I’ve been given these opportunities, you know, based on my skill set and my experience,” Douglass Morgan told CNBC. “It’s been an amazing journey.”
In 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA , Douglass Morgan found herself in an advisory role, helping to shape how other states adopted sports betting just as the gambling gold rush was beginning.
“You had states and different jurisdictions … coming to Nevada and asking our team, ‘How do you regulate sports betting? And what are your relationships with your licensees and sportsbooks?'” Douglass Morgan said.
Courtesy of the Las Vegas Raiders
As the teams and leagues try to navigate headline-making scandals and potential pitfalls with sports betting, Douglass Morgan has brought vast knowledge and experience with responsible gaming and integrity.
She said sports betting is still in its infancy and education about gambling and all its rules is paramount for everyone in sports.
“Making sure that everyone — and it’s not just players, every single employee that’s with a club, whether it be on the football team side, or the business organization side — is aware of the rules, is aware of some of the pitfalls,” she said.
While sports and gambling mesh and evolve around the nation, the country’s gambling capital has become a preeminent sports destination of its own.
For the first time, Las Vegas will host the Super Bowl in 2024 at Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Raiders, the city’s first NFL franchise. Vegas also is eagerly awaiting its first Formula One race this fall, and is wooing an MLB team, the Oakland As. It has already embraced its WNBA Aces and NHL Golden Knights.
Courtesy of the Las Vegas Raiders
The success of sports in Las Vegas feels personal to Douglass Morgan, who hails from the city and is raising her children there. At the helm of the Raiders she said she can help influence philanthropic and educational opportunities that improve the quality of life for her community.
And the history she’s making as president of the Raiders?
“I do feel a sense of responsibility to make sure that I’m not taking this position for granted. I know that just being named the president can hopefully inspire, you know, whether it be women and girls and people from a variety of different backgrounds to know that there are opportunities for them to be in sports management,” she said.
This story originally appeared on CNBC