Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri announces departure from National Indian Gaming Commission

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Commission announces Jonodev Chaudhuri is resigning effective Wednesday, May 15, 2019. He calls people at the agency, 'the best federal team ever.'

The National Indian Gaming Commission today announced the resignation of Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri as chairman of National Indian Gaming Commission, effective Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

In a media release, Chaudhuri expressed his appreciation for serving Indian Country through the federal agency and was resigning to pursue other interests including efforts benefitting his own tribal nation.

“It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve Indian country and the general public in my capacity as chairman, a role I have had the pleasure of fulfilling since 2013. During my time as chairman, the commission worked hard at every turn to stress strong partnerships and consistent communication with tribal gaming operations to achieve compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Commission works with tribes to ensure they have the tools necessary to effectively regulate their operations and meet IGRA’s requirements,” said Chaudhuri in the release. “As I reflect on the initiatives of NIGC during my time at NIGC, we have been able to protect the integrity of Indian gaming, expand outreach, and develop new services that support gaming operations and its staff.”

Chaudhuri also met with Indian Country Today's Vincent Schilling and made the announcement in his Washington DC office.

In the video, Chaudhuri expressed his appreciation in working with "the best federal team' ever and expressed his sadness in leaving. He later said he would be serving as an ambassador for his tribe the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The full video will follow in a later interview.

In the release, the NIGC highlighted many of the accomplishments during the service of Chaudhuri. Three of the accomplishments outlined by the agency's release include:

Protecting against gamesmanship on the backs of tribes 

Assisted in uncovering opportunities that non-tribal entities took to manipulate business, professional and employment relationships associated with the Indian gaming operations to further their own interests at the expense of the tribal gaming operation, the tribe, and tribal members.

Developing effective rural outreach for small gaming in rural areas
The commission understands that access and funds are limited in these areas. In 2015, NIGC hired a Rural Outreach Coordinator to help address this concern. NIGC also explored virtual training sessions at NIGC Regional Training Courses and promoted that tribes can request site-specific training.

The commission understands that gaming technology continues to evolve, and so do threats to gaming integrity. Thus, in March 2015, NIGC created the technology division, which oversees the agency’s information technology, records management, background and licensing, fingerprint processing and training and assessments, including Regulating Technology Course and IT Vulnerability Assessments. The Technology Division was instrumental in spearheading regulations for mobile gaming devices, creating NIGC’s new user-friendly website in September 2015, and finalizing Part 547 Class II Gaming Systems. Not only did the finalization of the Part 547 regulations keep ahead of the tech curve, but recognized tribal regulators’ ability to maintain and ensure gaming security. 

Chaudhuri was also successful in terms of happy employees. According to their release, the agency ranked highest in gains in employee satisfaction among all federal agencies and departments of 100 employees or more.

At this point, Chaudhuri says he is committed to a smooth transition. On May 16, Vice-Chair Isom-Clause will take over operations. 

“I sincerely appreciate having had the opportunity to work at NIGC. I would like to thank my fellow commissioners, the hard working NIGC staff, and Indian country for the support, guidance, and encouragement provided to me during my time at NIGC. Even though I will deeply miss my colleagues and time serving as the chairman, I am looking forward to starting a new phase of my career,” said Chaudhuri.