Al Hopkins, chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, passed away at the age of 81 on Sunday. He was in his third term as chairman after being reconfirmed last year by the state Senate.
Jay McDaniel, Executive Director, said: “The Mississippi Gaming Commission family is saddened by the passing of Chairman Hopkins and was honored to have him lead this agency for the past eight years. In deference to the family, we are not issuing any further statement at this time.”
Hopkins chaired the commission during a time of significant change for the gambling industry, with many states easing rules on when and where gambling can take place and legalizing sports betting, as reported by The Clarion-Ledger.
After two relatively routine confirmations, Hopkins faced some opposition last year for not committing to keeping rules on casino locations the same. Sen. David Blount, a Democrat from Jackson, who chairs the Senate gaming committee, had opposed Hopkins’ confirmation after voting for him previously.
That opposition led to a social media fight with Republican Gov. Tate Reeves. Still, the confirmation reached the chamber floor and was supported by all but eight senators.
Hopkins, who would have turned 82 on Tuesday, had chaired the commission since 2015. A former assistant adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard, Hopkins retired from the military with the rank of major general. He founded his own law firm, Hopkins, Barvié & Hopkins, in 1977 in Gulfport and served for 13 years as chief judge of the Court of Military Appeals.
A 1963 graduate of Delta State University, Hopkins earned bachelor’s degrees in history and English. In 1965 he received his Juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He later received a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from William Carey University.