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Law and Order

Samantha Haggerty, Deputy Chief Compliance Officer, Regulatory Affairs Counsel, Penn Entertainment

Law and Order

Career paths are not always what they seem. For Samantha Haggerty, her choice of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania was informed to a degree because of its strong English program. And it helped that her parents graduated from the same college. She interned at a magazine near her Medford, New Jersey home.

Yet, she never considered writing or journalism as a career. “I decided at a young age that I wanted to be an attorney, and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way,” Haggerty says.

With a law degree in 2017 from Villanova law school, Haggerty set out on her goal to practice civil litigation. But she landed a position with a firm that included a large gaming practice. “More and more, I realized I was starting to request assignments with gaming clients rather than traditional litigation,” she says.

When the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act a year later and sports betting boomed, yadda yadda yadda, Haggerty gravitated to gaming. “I loved the fast pace of the industry and the complexity of the legal issues in a growing market.”

Covid-19 helped her enhance the gaming direction. The start of remote work made a lot of in-house gaming attorney positions much more easily accessible. “I was able to finally fully focus on gaming regulatory work when I went in-house,” says Haggerty, who joined Penn Entertainment in 2022 as deputy chief compliance officer and regulatory affairs counsel.

Penn Entertainment offered everything she could hope for. In addition to respect, Penn has a large presence in hospitality, traditional casino gaming, retail and online sports wagering, and an online casino.

“The combination of decades of experience with the constant drive to innovate makes Penn a very exciting place to work,” says Haggerty, who finds time to relax by reading, working out on the Peloton, seeing Springsteen in concert, and rooting for Philly sports teams (which she admits can be exasperating at times).

Chris Soriano, chief compliance officer at Penn, is her biggest cheerleader at the company. “He has been since he hired me as a summer associate at Duane Morris,” says Haggerty, who worked with Duane Morris from 2017 to 2020.

Haggerty gives kudos to Frank DiGiacomo, chair of the gaming group at Duane Morris, as well as to Lou Rogacki and Mike Golub, of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Haggerty’s career moves, while unexpected from where she started, are everything she could hope for. “It led me to where I am today, and I have no regrets about that.”

The next five years will bring the continued spread of legalized sports wagering across the U.S., she says. “I think we’re going to continue to see technological innovations, not only in the online space, but even more so in the traditional casino gaming space as gaming companies work to attract and maintain younger patrons,” says Haggerty, who also enjoys time at the Jersey Shore with her husband and two dogs.

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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