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November 26, 1999
Bombay Girl Keeps Tabs On Las Vegas Casinos
Radha Chanderraj never gambles. As a certified accountant, she doesn't like the odds and she figures it is better to invest the money than to lose it.
But two months ago, Chanderraj bet on her qualifications, answered an advertisement in the local paper and won an appointment to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Chanderraj, 45, is the first Asian American to be appointed to a top position by Governor Kenny Guinn. Las Vegas casinos generate $ 8 billion business annually.
Chanderraj is one of the five members on the commission. Her part-time appointment, which has a four-year term, began on September 1.
"It's a responsibility. I have to set good policy that will affect the economy. I am going to give it my best," said Chanderraj, who is also the financial administrator in her husband Raj Chanderraj's cardiology practice called Heart Specialists in Las Vegas.
Chanderraj, who will be paid $ 40,000 annually, will have to go through thick proposals before the commission can address licensing issues, work permits and policy matters.
The Nevada Gaming Commission is a five-member lay body. Its primary responsibilities include acting on the recommendations of the State Gaming Control Board in licensing matters and ruling in work permit appeal cases.
The commission is the final authority on licensing matters, having the authority to approve, restrict, limit, condition, deny, revoke, or suspend any gaming license. Additionally, the commission has to promulgate regulations to implement and enforce the state laws governing gaming.
Chanderraj was born and raised in Bombay and immigrated to the United States 16 years ago after an arranged marriage. The Las Vegas strip actually made her feel at home.
"It is so alive, bustling and crowded. It instantly reminded me of home," said Chanderraj, who had bachelor degrees in science and law in Bombay.
She settled down to a happy, domestic life where she did voluntary work and had three sons -- Rishi, 16, Ravi, 14, and Rajeev, 12. The fact that their names all begin with the letter 'R' is no coincidence.
"We decided, let's make it the 'R' Family," said Chanderraj, who enrolled in a master's degree program at the University of California at Irving over a year ago. Every month she left home for four days to be on the campus for intensive studies. She graduated last year.
Chanderraj worked in many firms like Garrett Ethel and Sierra House as a senior accountant and a business manager.
But restlessness dogged her.
"I want to make a contribution. I wanted to do something that was rewarding and involved," she says.
Chanderraj and her husband have also been very involved in politics. They are both registered Republicans and she volunteered for Guinn's 1998 campaign for governor.
"I know that whatever the commission votes on will influence the state because gaming is our biggest industry and it affects everything. I look forward to making policy that will be very beneficial to the state," Chanderraj said.
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