Enrique A. Zuniga

Candidate for Individuals Seat 2017-2020

What is your interest in serving on the Board? What skills can you bring to the Board?

As one of the founding Commissioners at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), I have been directly involved setting up a new agency and creating the regulatory framework that would allow for the benefits of gaming to be realized, while mitigating to the maximum extent possible the unintended consequences that this expansion may bring, including Problem Gambling.

Over the last five years, my colleagues and I have formulated policy and promulgated rules that govern the activities of this industry.   This includes an ambitious research agenda with a baseline study to ascertain the social and economic impacts of casinos.  The findings of this on-going research help us formulate policy.

The Legislation directs us to take a balanced approach, and we have taken that mandate very seriously.   To that end we have already implemented responsible gaming initiatives ahead of other states with a longer history of regulated casino gambling.

I believe that being involved at the board level with NCPG can further my understanding and appreciation of Problem Gambling.  At the same time, I would contribute towards an area with significant implications to people that is too often minimized because of its low prevalence.  I will bring a commitment to thoughtful, evidence-based and rational approach, in the same way that we have approached the activities at the MGC.

What is your vision for NCPG, and what goals do you have for the organization?

In my opinion, the NCPG does tremendous work with a rather small budget.  The organization should continue leveraging the work of affiliates, which has proven to be substantial, as well as conduct the annual conference, which provides important revenues and furthers the mission and visibility of NCPG and affiliated councils.  The NCPG should explore ways of bringing additional revenues and resources.  While some of this may require some upfront investment (i.e., hiring a development manager/fundraiser), other strategies could include looking for ways to increase cross-collaboration among affiliates, and consolidating certain efforts at the national level.

What relevant leadership and/or committee roles have you held in NCPG, state Affiliate or related organizations?

I have been a member of the NCPG Finance Committee for the last six months.  At MGC we consider Marlene Warner (ED of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling) a stakeholder and partner in many of our activities, including the GameSense program, which the MCCG helps us administer.

What ideas and experience do you have that can help NCPG grow its membership and fundraising?

Consider investing in a development manager or fundraising position. Increase coordinating and targeting efforts with affiliates of specific and prospective members along (depending on say their geographic location).

Do you have any personal or professional conflicts that would prevent you from engaging fully in advocacy or fundraising? If so, please describe them.

Yes.  The MGC enhanced code of ethics that states:  “A Commissioner may not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, or use or permit the use of their office for that purpose; be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization in any letter or other document used in such solicitation; be a speaker or guest of honor at an organization’s fundraising events, but may attend such events and contribute to such organizations; or give investment advice involving gaming related interests to such an organization.  A Commissioner or employee may speak, write, lecture or participate in other activities concerning the gaming industry, if in so doing the Commissioner or employee does not cast doubt on his or her ability to decide impartially any matter which may come before the Commission, and provided that the Commissioner or employee does not accept compensation or honoraria for any such activity. A Commissioner or employee may participate in any civic or charitable activities, not including bazaars governed by G.L. c.271, §7A, that do not interfere with his or her independence of judgment.”

* G.L. c.271, §7A is the statute that governs charitable gaming in Massachusetts.

How long have you been a member of NCPG and what led you to join initially?

Two years.  The work of both Keyth White (NCPG) and Marlene Warner (MCCG) led me to appreciate the importance of this topic and the relevance to the work we do as regulators.

Biographical Statement

I have served as a Commissioner and Treasurer at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission since its inception on March 20, 2012.  My appointment expires on March 2022.

Prior to the MGC I served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust.  The Trust is a $5.2 billion state infrastructure bank that provides subsidized loans to Cities and Towns for clean and drinking water projects.  The Trust accepts federal grants and issues municipal debt to fund the loans it provides to municipalities.

Prior to the Trust, I was the director of Quality Assurance at the Massachusetts School Building Authority.  My duties included the initial drafting of regulations, design and implementation of information systems, executive reporting, training and special projects.

Prior to the MSBA, I was a manager at Ernst & Young in the Real Estate Advisory Services Group, where I conducted a number of audits and risk assessments for clients with large capital programs.

I came to New England in 1995 to obtain an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and prior to that I was a co-owner and director of a residential development and construction company in Monterrey Mexico.  I obtained a Civil Engineering degree in Mexico.

Nominated by: Stephen P. Crosby, Massachusetts Gaming Commission