Boyd School of Law Adds Industry Veterans to Lead School’s Indian Gaming Initiatives

The William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV today announced the appointments of Jennifer Carleton and John Tahsuda as distinguished fellows to lead the law school’s Indian gaming initiatives.

Carleton and Tahsuda bring decades of experience advising and practicing before federal, state, and tribal governments and agencies in the development and application of tribal gaming law, policy and regulations.

“The addition of these two great leaders as distinguished fellows is an incredible step toward strengthening the Boyd Law Indian Nations Gaming and Governance Program, generously supported by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians,” said Leah Chan Grinvald, dean and Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law. “Their connections to and experiences with Indian nations will enhance our gaming law curriculum, which already boasts the most extensive gambling jurisprudence and the only advanced gaming law degree available in the United States.”

John Tahsuda

Tahsuda is a principal with Navigators Global, LLC, a full-service issues management, government relations, and strategic communications firm located in Washington, DC He is also the Managing Member of Innovative Tribal Strategies LLC, an Indian-owned consultancy that provides strategic advice to Indian nations on business and government matters.

”I am very excited to work with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Boyd School of Law to establish the Indian Nations Gaming and Governance Program, and honored at the trust they have placed in us,” said Tahsuda. “I especially applaud the vision of the Tribe to set in place this foundational resource for the current and future generations of tribal lawyers.”

Tahsuda has served as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the Interior and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs. He was also formerly the staff director of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, general counsel and legislative director of the National Indian Gaming Association, general counsel for the Oneida Indian Nation, and adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School. He is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.

Working in gaming her entire career has enabled Carleton to develop a unique expertise in payments, internet, sports, and Indian gaming, as well as an insider’s familiarity with the unique issues that arise when technology and regulation intersect. She recently joined Sightline Payments as its first Chief Legal Officer, and for UNLV she will help establish the advanced Indian law and gaming curriculum and create the first-of-its-kind Indian gaming experiential learning program.

Jennifer Carleton

“I’m honored to help establish an advanced Indian gaming law curriculum at the William S. Boyd School of Law,” said Carleton. “I want to ensure that there is an educational infrastructure in place in Nevada to support the rising generation of attorneys and advisors who understand Indian gaming, its importance and its impact.”

Before Sightline, Carleton was in-house counsel for an Indian casino for a decade and then spent 14 years in private practice as an advisor to some of the premier public and private gaming and investment companies in the world. She has taught advanced federal Indian gaming at the University of Wisconsin Law School and Boyd School of Law. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Gaming Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada, a former trustee of the International Association of Gaming Advisors, was previously the chair of the Indian Gaming Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and has published numerous articles on investment and Indian gaming regulatory compliance. Carleton was recently announced as a finalist for the 2022 Global Gaming Awards American Executive of the Year.

About the Indian Nations Gaming & Governance Program

The mission of the Indian Nations Gaming & Governance Program is to provide cutting-edge research and training on gaming, regulation, and governance for Indian nations; to prepare Native students to become future leaders; and to educate non-Native students in the legal, political, and cultural context of tribal gaming. The program was established in 2020 thanks to a generous gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and consists of specialized academic training for JD and LLM students, public programming for diverse audiences, academic and policy research, and conferences and symposia examining current issues in tribal gaming and governance. Program faculty and leadership have extensive experience in education, gaming, federal Indian law, and tribal law and governance.

The William S. Boyd School of Law is an institution of professional learning dedicated to academic excellence and practical training. Through the program, the school is committed to helping Indian nations use gaming to build a stronger future. Recipients of the San Manuel Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship awarded each year through a sponsorship from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, are selected by the admissions committee independent of admission decisions, with preference given to tribal citizens and indigenous student applicants.

About San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California. San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services, and promoting social, economic and cultural development. As the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region. For more information, visit

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