A Clear Calling

Ashley Burnside, Deputy Commissioner, Eastern Shawnee Gaming Commission

Ashley Burnside is one of those fortunate souls to have found her career destiny at an early age. The gaming industry pulled her in 13 years ago, and she has never looked back. She benefits from having experience in operations as well as regulatory and independent test lab areas of tribal gaming.

Burnside “fell in love” with the industry immediately, finding it more rewarding than the degree program she was pursuing at the time. She has enjoyed all of her roles in the industry—from snack bar attendant to cashier to shift supervisor—but has found her ultimate calling as a commissioner. “I am definitely a regulator,” she notes. Burnside has developed, executed and continues to conduct training sessions covering electronic gaming machines, licensing and surveillance at many different conferences across the country.

Northeast Oklahoma is a crowded market, where there can be three casinos—all successful—in an eight-mile radius. Burnside is lucky enough to have been involved with the opening of four casinos in that market. She enjoyed the experience so much that she knew her involvement in the industry “was meant to be.”

Her education did not end with a degree from Northeast Oklahoma A&M College. She continues to enjoy learning new aspects of gaming as she strives to be the best possible regulator she can be, by taking advantage of contacts and soaking in as much as she can from training opportunities and conferences such as G2E. In particular, she is keeping abreast of developments in technology—new software, and social and internet gaming—to be prepared for when the day comes to design regulations for new gaming platforms.

Three “of the most intelligent women” in the industry have served as mentors to Burnside: Robin Miller,

Jalene Wells and Jodi DiLascio. She keeps in touch with them weekly and appreciates how they took her under their wing.

Burnside is a member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe and serves as alternate on the tribe’s election board. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her 2-year-old nephew and being with family.
—Tom Zitt, The Innovation Group

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