The National Indian Gaming Commission has appointed Francisco Olea (Pascua Yaqui Tribe) as the new Region Director for the Phoenix Region. Olea officially began his role on July 8, 2019, and is taking over for retiring Region Director Lance Vallo.
Since 2001, Olea has held various supervisory and management positions with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, working for both the Tribal Gaming Office and Casino Operations. Most recently, he served as Compliance Manager for the Tohono O’odham Nation.
In the new role, Olea will be responsible for technical assistance, training and compliance at 59 Indian gaming facilities owned and operated by 49 federally-recognised tribes located in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.
“Mr. Olea brings a diverse background to the NIGC, having worked for both tribal regulatory agencies and casino operations. His law degree brings an additional level of expertise and perspective to the position and we look forward to him applying his experience and leadership as the Region Director,” Dustin Thomas, NIGC Director of Compliance said.
“We are thrilled that Mr. Olea is joining the NIGC team. Mr. Olea’s nearly two decades of experience in the tribal gaming industry, his scholarship, and his passion for serving Indian Country make him an exceptional pick to lead the Phoenix Region,” NIGC Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause said.
“I’m very excited to continue working with tribes in an area that’s a perfect fit for my unique work experience and formal education. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to upholding and maintaining the integrity of Indian Gaming while assisting tribes in their collective endeavor of self-sufficiency for the betterment of their people,” Olea said.