In a seven-minute meeting following more than a month-long process, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Friday afternoon unanimously voted to install interim director Tina Eick as the agency’s new executive director. Former chief Brian Ohorilko vacated the top job in December when he left to work as a casino executive.
According to search committee chairman Amy Burkhart, the state received nine inquiries for the position and the committee interviewed three candidates. It ultimately brought in two, including Eick, for a second round of interviews before making its decision.
Iowa was a first mover after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and the state has in-person sports betting and casino gambling, as well as mobile betting apps.
Burkhart said that during the process it quickly “became clear that we already had the right person” on staff. Prior to becoming interim director, Eick was the director of operations for the agency, and as such worked with and had developed relationships with key stakeholders.
Ohorilko left after 20 years at the IRC, including the last 12 as director. He is now a senior vice president in charge of racing, human resources and food and beverage at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.
According to her LinkedIn page, Eick has been with the IRC since November 2016. She previously worked as an attorney at Hopkins & Huebner, PC in Iowa for 23 years. Eick has a law degree and a masters from Drake University and did her undergraduate work at Iowa State.
According to one media report, former Kentucky Horse Racing Commission executive director Hans Stokke is no longer with the organization.
Stokke, who does not have a gaming background, has not announced his next adventure, and it does not appear that the KRHC has posted a notice for a replacement. Stokke’s name is no longer on the KHRC staff directory.
Stokke was with the KHRC for seven months and oversaw the September 2023 launch of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at state racetracks and online sports betting platforms across the state.