Gov. Whitmer Reappoints Two MGCB Board Members for Fresh Four-Year Tenure



  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer has approved the reappointment of two members of the Michigan Gaming Control Board for another four-year tenure.
  • The executive director of the MGCB, Henry Williams has applauded the governor for this decision as a step taken to promote continuity.
  • Joni Davis and Andrew Palms were reappointed on Jan. 4 and have since resumed to their respective positions on the Board.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been very instrumental to the development of the Michigan gambling industry, especially in the last four years. Empowered by the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act, the Board has spearheaded the licensing and regulating online and retail casinos and sportsbooks across the state.

At the heart of its operations are its members, two of whom have now been reappointed by the Governor and given tenure extension. On January 4, Governor Gretchen Whitmer reappointed Mrs. Joni Davis and Mr Andrew Palms to the Board, effectively handing them an additional four-year tenure.

Davis and Palms to Remain on the Board till December 2027 

In January 2020, Governor Whitmer first appointed Davis to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, succeeding Patrick McQueen whose tenure expired December 21, 2019. Davis is the managing partner for Jamjomar Inc. and the owner of four McDonald’s restaurants in Detroit. She holds a JD from Emory University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree, which she earned prior, from the University of Michigan.

Davis, a resident of the metropolitan Detroit area, will remain on the board till December 31, 2027, according to the terms of the reappointment.

Unlike Davis, Palms has been on Board for over a decade now, with his first appointment coming in February 2012 by former governor Rick Snyder. Palms currently serves as the executive director of ITS Infrastructure of his alma mater, the University of Michigan. He has worked there for 30 years now, having first earned a bachelor’s degree of general studies in computer science, business and engineering from the institution.

Palms, who resides at Chelsea, will also stay on the board till his term expires on Dec. 31, 2027. Having already resumed his position, this year marks his 12th year of service to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Executive Director Henry Williams Lauds Governor’s Approach to Stability  

In a press release published on Jan. 17, 2024, the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Henry Williams shared the news of the reappointment to the general public. He further expressed his satisfaction with the decision of the governor to return the two members.

“I appreciate Governor Whitmer’s decision to reappoint Joni and Andrew to the Board, which is well-deserved recognition of their dedication, expertise, and valuable contributions to our agency’s mission and vision,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “I am confident that the reappointment of these Board members will ensure continued stability, effective decision-making, and the ability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of Michigan’s gaming industry, and I look forward to continuing our work together for the citizens of this great state.”

Henry Williams assumed his role as executive director in May 2021, having served as deputy director of the Board’s Casino Operations Divisions for over six years. During his tenure, Williams has been pivotal to the fight against illegal and unlicensed gambling while strengthening Michigan online casinos and sportsbooks.

Michigan Gaming Control Board Still Has One Vacant Seat 

Ideally, the MGCB is a five-member board. However, as of the time of this writing, the Board has a vacant seat. In addition to Williams and the reappointed Davis and Palms, the other members are Board Chair Linda Forte and Deidre A. Lambert-Bounds. Both of them have tenures which are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2024, if they are not reappointed by the governor.

According to the enabling legislation, the five-member board is allowed to have a maximum of three people from the same political party. Davis, Palms and Chairwoman Forte are all Democrats, the same party as the governor.

Forte was the former SVP of business affairs and the chief diversity officer at Comerica. She only joined the MGCB after her retirement and doubles as a member of the board of directors at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

On the other hand, Lambert-Bounds is an independent serving as the president and co-owner of Ignite Social Media LLC. She also holds a position as the chief operating officer and co-owner of Carusele Media.

Given that there are already three Democrats constituting the Board, Governor Whitmer will now have to appoint either a Republican or an Independent to the vacant position.

The Board had its first meeting of the year on January 9, with subsequent meetings scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at 9:30 a.m. MGCB meetings are open to the general Michigan public. You can attend in-person, virtually on Zoom or listen in via telephone. Find out more about these meeting attendance options on the MGCB website.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments