Passing of John Roberts

Tahlequah, OK – 2 February 2021 – The National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators (NTGCR)

It is with great sorrow that we learn of the passing of John Roberts, a long-time tribal gaming regulator and defender of tribal sovereignty. John passed from this life on Saturday, 30 January 2021 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Originally an attorney by trade, John’s career began decades ago when he served the Kansas Lottery. From there, John would go on to work for tribes in California, Michigan, and Massachusetts. It was during this time that John became involved with the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners & Regulators and served a number of years as a member of the Board of Directors. His hard work was recognized in 2013 when he was awarded the Gaming Regulator of the Year – Indian Country by the International Masters of Gaming Law. John was immensely proud of his accomplishments in the Indian gaming industry.

John was also a proud family man, often telling friends and colleagues about his daughters Claire and Rachael, as well as his other “child,” his golden retriever Max. “When I learned of John’s passing, I was saddened beyond words,” said NTGCR Chairman Jamie Hummingbird. “I had the good fortune of working beside John on regulatory matters for the past twenty years and know that his spirit will live on in those that came to know him.” No public service is immediately planned, with a memorial to be held when suitable. John’s family have set up an e-mail address,, and ask his friends and colleagues to share thoughts, pictures, memories and stories.

The NTGCR is a non-profit organization consisting of sixty-four (64) members and other non-voting affiliate members. The organization is dedicated to providing tribal gaming regulators with education and training. The NTGCR promotes cooperative relationships amongst tribes and may act as a gaming regulatory advisory group to tribal gaming organizations.

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