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Advancing Tribal Gaming

Holly Billy, Tribal Services Manager, BMM Testlabs

Advancing Tribal Gaming

Oklahoma born and bred, Holly Billy played basketball in school and completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She coached soccer and basketball for her children’s teams.

As a student, Billy worked for Choctaw casinos.

“Working in the gaming industry provided me that flexibility as well as the means to continue my education,” she says.

But it was more than a way to pay for school. It was an enlightenment as to the importance of the tribal gaming industry for the tribal community.

After college, teaching grade school fell by the wayside when she received a job offer from the Chickasaw Nation Gaming Commission in March 2009.

“I have had the privilege of working as a gaming inspector, monitoring and overseeing the operations of multiple gaming properties within the Chickasaw Nation,” Billy says. “The opportunity to dive deep into this world and ensure that all operations were running smoothly and securely was something that greatly appealed to me.”

As an inspector, Billy bore responsibility that all rules and regulations were being followed, that customers were being treated fairly and honestly.

During her time as a commissioner, the Chickasaw Nation created an athletic commission, naming Billy as a founding staff member, with the goal of sanctioning boxing and MMA events hosted by the tribe.

“I had a real passion for mixed martial arts and was able to work with the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission for over 10 years. During my time I also had the opportunity to work in the gaming industry. This experience gave me a unique perspective on regulating and managing sports and entertainment events.”

Billy also saw more and more women take leadership roles.

“As society continues to evolve and progress towards gender equality, women are increasingly taking on key positions within the commission, often breaking through traditional barriers and stereotypes.”

This shift brought a fresh perspective and diversity of ideas, she says.

In June 2019, Billy left her native Oklahoma for Las Vegas, where she joined a global gaming company, BMM Testlabs, where she serves as tribal services manager. While BMM’s primary business is the testing of gaming products, the company is dedicated to making a positive impact on communities and the tribal gaming industry.

“I have had the opportunity to work with multiple tribes across the country, reaching a broader audience, and ultimately helping these communities thrive.”

The company introduced its “Next Generation Initiative,” which helps foster a positive difference for tribal communities facing difficulties with education, poverty and unemployment. This program provides access to financial and educational resources, Billy says.

“By participating in this initiative, I can contribute to the development of future leaders who will drive change and make a difference.”

Jodi DiLascio and Russell Witt provided invaluable guidance as her career progressed. “My mentors, who have extensive experience in tribal gaming, have played a crucial role in shaping my understanding of the industry and helping me navigate through its complexities.”

They also served as role models, a source of inspiration, work ethic, integrity, and dedication to excellence. “Their guidance has instilled a sense of professionalism and a commitment to continuous learning and growth.”

Billy sees a future with more growth and success as both women and tribal members in the gaming industry.

“I plan to maintain and build new relationships with my BMM colleagues and industry professionals. By networking and collaborating with like-minded individuals, I can create opportunities for myself and others.”

Bill Sokolic is a veteran journalist who has covered gaming and tourism for more than 25 years as a staff writer and freelancer with various publications and wire services. He's also written stories for news, entertainment, features, and business. He co-authored Atlantic City Revisited, a pictorial history of the resort.

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