Dean Serpa Elected as New Massachusetts Gaming Commission Executive Director 

Written By Mike Breen on March 19, 2024 - Last Updated on March 20, 2024
Dean Serpa Massachusetts Gaming Commission

In a March 18 meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to offer Dean Serpa the job as the commission’s new executive director.  

Serpa was a deputy chief of staff for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. He worked for Gov. Baker during both of his terms, from 2015 to 2023, and was appointed chair of the Gaming Policy Advisory Committee by Baker at the start of last year.

Dean Serpa named executive director of Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Serpa will replace interim MGC executive director Todd Grossman, who also serves as general counsel to the commission, overseeing the legal department. Grossman has been in the interim role since the July 2023 departure of former executive director Karen Wells. 

The MGC executive director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, which is the regulatory authority for all Massachusetts sports betting and casino operations in the state.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to offer Serpa the position. MGC chair Cathy Judd-Stein recused herself from the hiring process, as she’s set to retire from the commission. Her last day is Thursday. Current governor Maura Healey will appoint Judd-Stein’s replacement. The state closed applications for the position on March 18. 

MGC commissioners appreciated Serpa’s managerial experience

The two finalists for the executive director were Serpa and Clinton Dick, who currently serves as general counsel to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Serpa and Dick submitted to public interviews by the commissioners during the MGC’s March 18 meeting.

While the commissioners reiterated that they found both applicants highly qualified and capable of doing the job, ultimately they felt Serpa’s extensive managerial experience, as well as his more recent gaming experience with GPAC, made him best suited for the executive director position.  

Commissioner Brad Hill said he felt Serpa was more suited to step into the position and be effective immediately: 

“I want a manager in that position. I want somebody who is… a fixer. I want a uniter. I want somebody who can take conflict, who has actually experienced that type of conflict, and has been able to work with everybody to come to some consensus. I want to see somebody put in there who, from Day 1, can manage this agency for us.” 

Commissioner Jordan Maynard concurred, saying he felt more at ease with Serpa in the role: 

“Dean is an operator. Dean is someone who’s going to drive a project forward. When Dean walks into a room my blood pressure noticeably drops.”

Serpa says responsible gaming, technology biggest MA issues

When asked during his interview what he felt were the biggest challenges facing the Massachusetts gaming industry, Serpa said it was responsible gaming, sports wagering and keeping up with technology:

“I’m father to a 14-year-old boy. He has his little iPhone and he watches the games. I never had that sort of temptation when I was growing up, it was never an issue for me. And I was certainly never alone with a gaming instrument right in my hand. I think that measuring, monitoring and legislating on responsible gaming is probably the biggest challenge for Massachusetts now.”

Serpa said he felt like he was the perfect candidate to bring together the various departments within the MGC. 

“If you’re looking to bring in here a leader who can be the mesh to bring those departments together, and who understands operationally what those departments do . . . I’m very experienced in all of those areas. And that I think is the perfect description of what the executive director is supposed to do. You are the umbrella that brings the organization together.”

Serpa has extensive experience in Massachusetts government

During his time under Baker, Serpa served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Administration and Director of Operations. He managed the operational budget for the governor’s office and oversaw a staff of 75 across 12 departments. Serpa was also responsible for advance planning, briefings, travel, and security while with Gov. Baker.

A graduate of Bates College and Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Management, Serpa worked for Gov. Mitt Romney and Gov. William Weld before his time with Gov. Baker. He has over 30 years of experience in government service in the commonwealth.

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen is an Ohio-based professional writer who has more than two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture. He has covered online sports betting, responsible gambling, and other gambling initiatives for a variety of markets over the last couple of years. That now includes PlayMA.

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