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MLA Places Joi L. Garner as General Counsel at The New York Racing Association

Hanover, MD (November 1, 2021) — Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA), the world’s leading legal search firm, today announced the placement of Joi L. Garner as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). Joi succeeds Joe Lambert who retired last month. The search was conducted by Lee Udelsman, managing partner in Basking Ridge, NJ, and Robert Graff, partner in Atlanta, both with MLA’s In-House Counsel Recruiting group.

Joi will provide leadership and counsel on all legal matters relating to NYRA’s operations, strategies and activities, supporting NYRA’s CEO, David O’Rourke, in growing the business through content distribution via cable television and various digital platforms while embracing opportunities created through the legalization of mobile sports wagering throughout the country.  In addition, she will oversee regulatory issues with relevant New York State agencies, including the New York State Gaming Commission and New York State Franchise Oversight Board, as well the governing bodies of the 31 additional states in which NYRA Bets is licensed to offer online wagering on horse racing.

NYRA holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact. Accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, NYRA is a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, a group of the nation’s leading racing organizations working collaboratively to advance safety measures across the sport.

“I’m so pleased that Joi is returning to NYRA to succeed Joe Lambert as general counsel with whom she worked previously at this preeminent thoroughbred racing organization,” said Lee Udelsman. “With her successful tenure there and at THINK450, Joi has the perfect mix of industry and entertainment experience to assist David O’Rourke in executing on the organization’s strategic priorities for this evolving sport.”

Joi most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel at THINK450, the marketing and licensing subsidiary of the National Basketball Players Association charged with monetizing the names, images and likenesses of the collective players in the NBA. Prior to THINK450, she spent several years as associate general counsel at the NYRA, where she was responsible for the commercial and technical contracts, sweepstakes and contests, and privacy for an organization that produces over 200 live events per year and three nationally televised shows and operates multiple websites and mobile apps. Prior to her tenure at THINK450 and NYRA, Joi was a member of the sports and entertainment group of Garvey Schubert Barer. She began her legal career as corporate associate at Morrison & Forrester. Joi received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and her B.S. from New York University.

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