Joe Asher Appointed by President Biden to Lead Wilson Center

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Posted on: March 23, 2023, 12:47h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2023, 05:51h.

IGT Sports Betting President Joe Asher is one of the most respected names in the global sports betting industry. He’s now set to head one of the nation’s foremost think tanks in the Woodrow Wilson Center after being appointed to the position by his longtime friend and fellow Delawarean President Joe Biden.

Joe Asher IGT Woodrow Wilson Center Joe Biden
Joe Asher is one of the most respected minds in sports betting. President Joe Biden believes he’s also a good fit to lead the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC, a public policy think tank that’s partially funded by Congress. (Image: William Hill)

Chartered by Congress in 1969 as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, the center is a nonpartisan policy forum that addresses global issues, with recommendations formed through independent research and open dialogue.

Biden has tapped Asher as the new chair of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Board of Trustees — the formal name of the think tank. Asher succeeds Bill Haslam, the billionaire Republican who served two terms as governor of Tennessee until 2019.

Asher attended the University of Delaware for his undergrad in political science and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the Delaware Law School. He says he’s known the Bidens for decades and has “been a big supporter” of the president for many years.

DC Outsider

Asher, a Las Vegas resident, has enjoyed a successful career in sports betting and was inducted into the SBC Sports Betting Hall of Fame in 2021. But as for why Biden might have appointed him to such an esteemed, important public policy role, Asher conceded that he isn’t entirely sure. However, the oddsmaker plans to bring his handicapping expertise and business acumen to the think tank.

“They [Woodrow Wilson Center] get into complicated issues and try to present the facts and solutions to key decision makers,” Asher told CDC Gaming Reports. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and honored by it.”

All I can do is bring my perspective. I live in the west, outside the DC and New York bubble, and I’m in the business community rather than in government and academia. Hopefully, that’s a different perspective,” Asher explained.

Before heading up IGT’s sports betting department, Asher was CEO of UK-based William Hill, one of the world’s largest bookmakers.

Less than three years after the US Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting ban, Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in April 2021 for about $3.7 billion. Caesars rebranded most of William Hill’s US-facing operations to Caesars Sportsbook and later sold off William Hill’s international assets.

Asher joined William Hill in 2012 after selling his own business, Brandywine Bookmaking, to the sportsbook giant. Before entering the sports gambling business, Asher fresh out of law school served as a judicial clerk with the Supreme Court of Delaware before working at a New York law firm for nine years.

Wilson Center Gig

The board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Center are appointed by the president of the United States to six-year terms. The quasi-government, public-private partnership is located in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in DC.

Trustees serve on various committees with functions including executive, audit, finance and investment policy, development, fellowship, as well as strategic planning and programming,” a statement from the organization explained.

The trustees oversee the center’s leadership team, governance, and roughly 150-person staff. The Woodrow Wilson Center additionally welcomes more than 150 fellows yearly from over 100 countries. Fellowships are extended to scholars, practitioners, and public intellectuals.

Fellows conduct research and write in their areas of interest and interact with DC lawmakers on behalf of the center. Fellows accepted into the program receive a stipend of $90,000 a year for a nine-month fellowship.

The Woodrow Wilson Center generates the bulk of its revenue through private contributions and donations. Grants and contributions accounted for 44.3% of the center’s $40.8 million in revenue for its 2021 fiscal year. Appropriations from Congress accounted for about 35%.

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