Sharon House

Black Hills State University social science graduate Sharon House, Class of '71, was one of 10 who were nationally recognized with the 2010 Great Women of Gaming Proven Leader Award by Casino Enterprise Management magazine.

Candidates for the award are nominated by their bosses, co-workers, and peers. The awards are broken down into two categories: Proven Leaders and Rising Stars. To qualify as a Proven Leader, individuals must have worked in the gaming industry for a minimum of 10 years, have been in their current position for at least one year, and hold a position of director of higher. Candidates must also demonstrate exceptional achievement in at least three of the following areas: 1) the ability to go above and beyond job responsibilities; 2) commitment to their company and co-workers; 3) contributions to the industry as a whole; 4) commitment to mentoring; and 5) a strong overall life balance.

According to House, she always wanted to become an attorney and work for her tribe. After receiving her undergraduate degree at BHSU, she went on to law school at the University of Wisconsin and was admitted to practice law in 1984 in the state of Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1985.

She currently provides legal services for a number of tribal gaming commissions. She has worked in tribal jurisdictions within Washington, Idaho, Kansas, Wisconsin, California, and South Dakota. In addition she has served as assistant to the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, Rick Hill, for over six years and has been involved in negotiating four tribal/state gambling compacts pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

According to Casino Enterprise Management magazine, there are numerous examples of the work House has done to advance the industry. She served as an attorney for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin—her own tribe—for approximately 20 years, specializing in Indian law, gaming, regulation, corporations, financing, and more. One of her many nomination letters says, “despite her many achievements, she has remained a humble person, always putting a strong emphasis on family and community. That is why she is so well loved by her people at home and by Indian people throughout the U.S. For these reasons, she richly deserves to be recognized as a Great Woman of Gaming.”