The wife of a Pennsylvania state senator became the newest commissioner on the state’s Gaming Control Board this past week after her husband’s colleague appointed her.
Frances J. “Fran” Regan’s biography on the PGCB website says that she was appointed by state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte. Regan’s husband is state Sen. Mike Regan, R-Carroll Township.
According to SpotlightPA, the position pays $145,000. Regan will serve a two-year term.
Corman told Spotlight he appointed her she has extensive experience in law enforcement. He said he met with six people before deciding to pick Fran Regan, whom he called a friend. Besides her law enforcement bona fides, Corman said he wanted someone he could trust. Her husband’s job wasn’t a disqualifier.
Just because your husband is involved in public service doesn’t mean you shouldn’t,” Corman said.
Under Pennsylvania law, the governor appoints three of the seven commissioners. Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate each pick the remaining four members individually.
Oversees Major Gaming Market
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board provides regulatory authority over a significant gaming market in the country.
According to the American Gaming Association’s 2020 State of the States, no state receives more direct tax revenue from casino gaming than Pennsylvania. In 2019, the Keystone State received $1.5 billion, up 2 percent from 2018.
The state’s casinos generated nearly $3.4 billion in gross gaming revenue that year, a record amount. That amount was good for third among US states, just below New Jersey’s nearly $3.5 million.
Besides casino gaming, the PGCB also oversees sports betting, iGaming, and video gaming terminals.
Many Pennsylvania Commissioners Connected
According to Regan’s biography, she served more than two decades with the US Probation Office, dividing her time between Miami and then serving 24 years in Harrisburg in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Her background includes drafting presentencing reports for federal judges. In addition, Regan also has extensive experience in performing background checks and criminal investigations. That experience could prove useful as the PGCB is responsible for doing background investigations on license applicants.
In addition, Regan also has run her own small business. She runs F2 Women’s Self-Defense, a personal safety training business. It offers public and private lessons for women of all ages.
It’s not just people with connections to leaders who get coveted appointments. Spotlight’s reporting indicates that more than half of the people appointed as PGCB commissioners either worked for the state or served as elected officials. Since 2004, that description has fit 16 of the 31 appointees.
That includes former state Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont. He received an appointment in January by House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia. Dermody served nearly 30 years in the state House and was McClinton’s predecessor as the minority leader for nine years.
As the Spotlight report notes, Dermody’s appointment could translate into a pension boost. The state’s pension program uses a formula that bases pension payments on a worker’s three highest salary years. As commissioner, he’ll make about $14,000 more than what he earned as a top-ranking legislator.
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