Raquel Burton didn’t set out to go into the gaming industry as a lawyer. The cards just fell that way.
“I guess you could say I’m one of the many who have ‘fallen into’ the industry,” says the 2013 graduate of Valparaiso Law School. Burton serves as vice president of compliance for Four Winds Casinos, where she oversees gaming, liquor, banking and other regulations, often in conjunction with the Pokagon Band Gaming Commission.
Burton takes a proactive approach in the hopes of avoiding remedial action.
“We have the constant task of balancing the interests of the regulations with the interests of running an effective organization,” she says. “But regulations help protect the company’s assets, reputation and integrity. By managing compliance on the front end, the company can focus less on ‘cleaning up’ and/or ‘paying up’ non-compliance, and focus on successful operations.”
The South Bend native and resident first worked for Four Winds after her graduation from Ball State University in 2009, working in legal/compliance. Burton credits her predecessor at Four Winds, Laurie Reyher, with showing her the way.
“Anyone who is a compliance professional knows that there is a certain ebb and flow that must be mastered. Laurie was a woman who, despite challenges, laughed through them and took the high road. The patience and careful approach needed to manage compliance and the people you indirectly manage were just a couple of the things Laurie taught me,” says Burton, a mother of two who spends down time enjoying nature.
While iGaming could dominate the horizon in the future, especially with the expected wave of sports betting, don’t count brick-and-mortar casinos out, Burton says. “There is something to be said about the physical getaway and non-gaming amenities that drive many guests into the casino facilities.”
Four Winds South Bend is the latest expansion, but likely not the last, Burton says. The Four Winds management team and Pokagon Band’s elected leaders think long-term growth.
“In five years, I expect Four Winds will have adapted seamlessly to the changes facing the industry and will have continued to expand,” she says.
As for Burton, she doesn’t set many long-term goals.
“I am hard on myself and would never give myself long to accomplish something,” she says. “I can say that I hope to be doing much more to improve society as a whole, which is the reason I entered the legal field initially.
“Cooking good food and entertaining people isn’t quite relaxing, but it’s a sanctuary for me,” adds Burton, who used to cater small events and make cakes for any occasion.
To newcomers with an interest in the industry, Burton says take time to learn the evolution and history. Understanding what came before makes it easier to understand today.
“Don’t expect to learn it all overnight, and realize that once you think you’ve learned it all, there will be more to learn. Be flexible. Our industry is ever-changing and fast-paced. Your plans today will change a few times before you’re able to put them into action.”