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Following Footsteps

Jamie McKelvey, Deputy Attorney General, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

Following Footsteps

You might say Jamie McKelvey’s entrance into the Atlantic City gaming world was a foregone conclusion. Her mother worked for the Casino Control Commission, when she met her father, a New Jersey State Police officer assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Indeed, McKelvey graduated Rutgers Law School in 2013, and in six years ended up as a deputy attorney general with the DGE, where she works in the service industry licensing bureau.

McKelvey grew up in Upper Township, a bedroom community to Atlantic City. Many of her neighbors worked for casinos or for businesses supporting the industry.

“My commitment to public service, instilled in me by my parents, led me to the Attorney General’s Office, and my personal connection to the Atlantic City area eventually brought me ‘home’ to the DGE,” she says.

McKelvey, who earned a bachelor of arts in political science and criminal justice from Rutgers in 2010, served as a county prosecutor for more than two years as her first position after a clerkship. In May 2017 she moved to the Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice.

“I had the opportunity to learn about offshore gaming and the social and economic damage it can cause,” she says. “This sparked an interest in me in the regulation of legal gaming and sports wagering and the state’s approach to curtailing illegal gaming.”

With that, McKelvey transferred to the DGE, where among other tasks, she investigates and licenses individuals and organizations that do business with Atlantic City casinos, from non-gaming vendors to internet gaming and sports wagering operators.

“I direct investigations, review contracts and related documents, conduct sworn interviews and draft licensing recommendations. Much of my day is spent fielding inquiries from those in the gaming industry who are seeking to do business in New Jersey,” says McKelvey, who finds time to relax with a good book on the beach, a nice bonus of living in the Atlantic City area.

McKelvey cites Judge Patricia M. Wild, J.S.C. (ret.) as a mentor. She shared a similar career path. Wild served as a deputy attorney general in the DGE before working as in-house counsel for many of the Atlantic City casinos.

“Judge Wild has mentored me and provided guidance on being a woman in an industry that is predominantly male, to think critically, and to make decisions based on what is right, even if it is not the popular decision,” she says.

At the DGE, McKelvey has learned much from the guidance of Director David Rebuck, Deputy Director Lou Rogacki, and Deputy Attorneys General Mike Golub and Jen Russo-Belles.

One thing seems evident: the gaming industry has a continual need for attorneys to carry out the legal necessities of the industry, especially in an ever-changing gaming world, McKelvey says.

“I recommend that lawyers find an area of gaming they find particularly interesting and learn all they can. When you are passionate about a given topic, you naturally flourish in that area, and with hard work you can become a go-to person on that topic.”

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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