Gaming

Overview

“Everyone there was professional, personable and knowledgeable. I have no hesitation recommending them."
— Client feedback, Chambers USA

The gaming industry is among the most highly regulated in the United States and rapidly growing. It draws considerable government interest and media attention on a multijurisdictional level. Because of this increased enforcement activity, it’s critical that gaming companies and their partners understand how to minimize their risks in order to take advantage of continued expansion. This view has been enhanced by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Murphy v. NCAA, et al., allowing legalized sports betting.

Our gaming attorneys know the ins and outs of the gaming and sports wagering industry and have significant experience in representing well-known casino operators, Native American gaming interests, gaming equipment manufacturers, sports betting companies, racing and wagering operators, internet gaming operators, fantasy sports companies, skill gaming operators, vendors, and others that invest in, or provide services to, the gaming or racing industry. Our clients benefit from our comprehensive approach that draws upon the talents of attorneys from other disciplines such as corporate governance, labor and employment, regulatory compliance, and litigation, among others. Whether involving the development, acquisition, sale, taxation, or management of gaming operations, we understand the legal implications that arise and guide our clients through every stage of development to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks.

We also assist our clients with licensing, permitting, compliance and the handling of complex confidential investigations and regulatory proceedings. We counsel clients on the regulatory and business implications of financing, M&A, and restructuring, and advocate for our clients in all types of securities matters, intellectual property rights disputes, and civil and criminal investigations.

    Experience

      Casino Gaming

      • Representation of a prominent hotel corporation in the acquisition of competing corporations and hotel properties; disposition of properties and businesses; and environmental, risk management, and energy-related matters pertaining to an $8 billion mixed-use construction project in Las Vegas, Nevada.
      • Representation of a casino developer/owner, including the preparation of a casino management agreement, project development agreement, and put/call strategies.
      • Partnership in the sale of a majority interest in a race track/gambling operation to the world’s largest casino operator.
      • Successfully obtaining the first commercial gaming license for a Native American tribe.
      • Counseling clients in the successful defense of a contested casino license award in the State Supreme Courts.
      • Licensing and compliance requirements facing hedge funds and institutional investors holding or seeking to acquire significant ownership interests in a gaming company under several state laws.
      • Regulatory implications of an operator restructuring debt during the sensitive licensing process.
      • Representation of an international Internet gaming company in the acquisition of a U.S.-based gaming company and media outlet.
      • Representation of an investor in litigation over a transaction to acquire two large Nevada casino properties.
      • Preparation and filing of voluminous licensing applications on behalf of the primary licensee, affiliated entities, principals, and key employees, and working with applicable gaming authorities to resolve licensing disputes and issues.
      • Represented a gaming vendor in obtaining a license in contested regulatory proceedings.
      • Advised on a joint venture in relation to Macau Studio City, a composite development in Cotai, Macau. The project was comprised of hotels, a spa, apartments, a leisure and entertainment center, retail stores, and a theater. The project site area was approximately 60,000 square meters and the approved gross floor area was approximately 140,000 square meters. Advice included the formation of a joint venture company, negotiating with the Macau government on modifications of the land grant, project financing, and the appointment of a project manager and other professionals.
      • Negotiations with private equity firms, lenders, and investors for funding on behalf of casino developers and operators.
      • Successfully obtained dismissal of a lawsuit brought against a gaming operator for allegedly failing to identify and deter a compulsive gambler.
      • Co-counsel to a pre-petition agent in respect of a $1.3 billion facility for a gaming company in Chapter 11.
      • Representation of a nationwide operator of premium entertainment venues to provide operational risk management counseling (e.g., liquor law compliance, guest interactions/detentions, crowd control) and to coordinate and enhance relationships with local law enforcement, business, and community groups.

      Racing and Wagering

      • Representation of a racetrack in a series of transactions, which reorganized the finances and significant operating contracts that enabled the racetrack to emerge from bankruptcy.
      • Successfully obtained one of the first racing licenses under Pennsylvania’s Gaming Act.
      • Representation of a bank in a $30 million loan to a racetrack operator.
      • Representing an advance deposit wagering company in a sale to a U.S.-based public gaming company, including post-transaction earn-out disputes.
      • Developed legislation successfully passed in multiple states to authorize Internet wagering on horse racing.
      • Representation of a wagering company in litigation over a rights agreement related to wagering offerings.
      • Representation of a wagering company in an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
      • Representation of a horse racing operator in connection with an initiative to authorize racings in California.
      • Representation of a principal in an equity fund group that is looking to acquire a major advance deposit wagering company.
      • Representation of a racing operator in regulatory proceedings over the allocation of racing days.

      Internet Gaming, Sports Wagering, and Sweepstakes

      • Represent companies among the first to apply for licensure to engage in sports wagering operations outside Nevada following the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Murphy v. NCAA, et al.
      • Provide guidance to gaming operators, investors, and sports organizations on legislation regarding sports betting.
      • Represent companies in the social gaming and e-sports business sectors.
      • Successfully obtained the first Internet gaming transactional waivers for New Jersey casino operators and internet companies.
      • Advising numerous gaming companies, vendors, financial institutions, and payment systems on the strategies and impacts of managing risks under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.
      • Counseling clients on all aspects of the law in the creation, production, distribution, and registration of sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions for a variety of industries ranging from banking to entertainment properties to a major Philadelphia sports team.
      • Advising investors and operators on the risks of fantasy and social media games under federal and state laws.
      • Representing an international Internet gaming company in joint venture negotiations with a U.S. gaming operator.
      • Advised a major university on the legal risks and related strategies associated with a lottery for sporting events tickets.
      • Advising numerous investors, developers, and operators on the risks and opportunities in sports wagering, Internet gaming, and skill gaming in the United States and internationally under federal and state laws.
      • Counseling clients on children’s social networking sites, user creation of children’s toys and games, and user-generated gaming websites with 42 million unique monthly visitors.

      Digital Gaming

      • Represented Netmarble Games, the leading mobile game publisher in South Korea, in its $130 million investment in SGN, one of the biggest and fastest growing mobile game studios in the United States. The investment is one of the largest in the mobile gaming industry since 2013, and makes Netmarble the largest stakeholder in SGN.
      • Represented BigBalls Media, Inc. and BigBalls Media, Ltd., providing an array of content distribution, employment, and cross-border advice in the field of online content and the expanding soccer fan base.
      • Represented a leading aftermarket auto parts manufacturer before the U.S. Copyright Office in testimony relating to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, offering sophisticated counsel on anti-circumvention and copyright infringement matters.
      • Successfully defended MPS Multimedia, Inc., one of the largest independent software developers, publishers, and distributors specializing in the licensing of educational and family entertainment software, in a federal copyright infringement litigation.

      Team

      Christopher A. Lewis

      Christopher A. Lewis

      Partner & Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion