Even in a highly regulated sector such as gaming, there are always individuals seeking to take advantage
of the system. Popular culture has even made heroes out of the practice with films like “Casino” and
“Ocean’s Eleven.”

Less celebrated in Hollywood portrayals though are those behind the scenes of gaming enterprises tasked with staying one step ahead of criminal activity. At FireLake Entertainment Center, that individual is operational compliance manager Mary Hunt.

Getting her start in the gaming scene in 1991, Hunt enrolled at a dealing school in Las Vegas, where she learned all of the games that casinos typically offer like blackjack, roulette and poker.

Following her graduation, Hunt worked her way up the ladder and eventually became licensed vocational instructor with the Nevada Department of Education. For several years she alternated between teaching and working as a dealer at the city’s casinos.

“I was responsible for developing training procedures and learning material for students,” said Hunt. “One day I was asked to move by the company I was working for to switch to tribal gaming in Wisconsin. My husband and I took the opportunity and moved out there to do more training.”

From Wisconsin, Hunt and her husband moved to Mississippi, Iowa and Louisiana and worked with state officials to develop new regulations and procedures for each casino for which she worked.

When gaming began in Oklahoma in 2003, they pulled up stakes again, and moved to Shawnee to be closer to her husband’s family. With her seasoned background in gaming, she was hired at FireLake Entertainment Center to oversee its regulations, policies and procedures. Using her decades of experience to stay on top of the ever-changing regulatory nature of gaming, Hunt is responsible for FireLake’s adherence to federal, state and Tribal gaming regulations.

“On a day to day basis I make sure the policies and procedures we’ve developed over time to work on the floor as well as making sure the compliance is there without crippling operations,” explained Hunt. The Shawnee resident has been in gaming for 30 years and credits managers Linda Canada and Mike Petray for building a terrific place to work.

“I remember we all sat down and said this is what we need to do and how can we get it done,” recalled Hunt. “So we worked through every department throughout the whole casino developing regulations and procedures to make this place run effectively.”

As Hunt explains, the rigors of a position as a casino’s operational manager is a type of career where someone has to adapt, move on or quit.

“The whole time I’ve been here it has been a lot of fun and a learning experience,” said Hunt. “I came here with some knowledge but I have learned a tremendous amount too. I’ve worked at a lot of different casinos and this is best the place I’ve ever been employed. Linda (Canada) is the best boss I’ve ever had. The Tribe has been great to me and shows that if you put in the work, you get recognized.”