Duane Morris gaming attorneys have decades of experience representing the diverse and growing range of participants in the gaming industry. We have significant experience advising clients including owners and operators of casinos and pari-mutuel wagering facilities, online/mobile operators, manufacturers of gaming equipment and software, eSports entities, key employees, banks and non-traditional lenders, as well as vendors that provide goods and services to casinos. With the advent of internet and mobile gaming and the proliferation of sports wagering after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May of 2018, we also represent technology providers for internet and mobile gaming, sports wagering operators and multimedia companies seeking to coordinate, work with and form partnerships with these new industry participants.
Licensing, Findings of Suitability and Approvals
All gaming industry participants, from the largest operators and national banks to the vendors in the food court, share a common element: participation in the gaming industry requires a license or approval from a state or tribal gaming regulatory authority and/or an approval by a corporate compliance committee, who issue findings of suitability after conducting rigorous background investigations.
As a core area of our practice, Duane Morris helps clients obtain and maintain these valuable licenses and approvals, guiding them from the initial application, to the investigation and interview process, to the public hearing on the finding of suitability and issuance of a license or approval, through the ongoing obligation to update regulators. Where permitted by applicable regulations or policies, we deftly pursue waivers or exemptions from licensing requirements on behalf of investors, banks and others who do not exert the requisite control over the gaming enterprise.
Maintaining Compliance with Regulations
Clients frequently seek our advice on such matters as whether a gaming employee’s conduct justifies or requires discipline, whether a patron’s behavior requires exclusion from the casino, or whether an affiliate’s activity in another jurisdiction requires regulatory approval. With our extensive work in the industry, we interpret gaming regulations and work with regulators to address these issues promptly and clearly. Our lawyers regularly attend the monthly meetings of the gaming regulators in the jurisdictions in which we practice to follow closely any trends or changes in regulatory policy that may be under consideration.
Duane Morris gaming lawyers advise compliance committees of casinos and equipment manufacturers on regulatory compliance and reporting requirements, compliance audits and internal investigations. Our goal is not only to help clients conduct the required investigations of those with whom they do business and document those efforts for regulators, but also to identify and address potential issues before they become areas of concern to regulators. We then develop practical solutions to address the issues and fashion disclosures that satisfy legal requirements, while remaining sensitive to our clients’ needs and reputations.
Focusing on the Long Game
With the complex regulatory requirements surrounding gaming, companies can unknowingly commit violations and risk fines or other sanctions through normal business dealings. Negotiating and documenting material agreements, loans and M&A transactions, preparing offering documents, or handling disputes in the gaming industry can present unexpected challenges and consequences. For example, gaming regulators might disapprove if a large industry participant were to seek unreasonable concessions from a small vendor. Duane Morris gaming lawyers carefully consider and evaluate the impact of any advice – regardless of the task at hand – on our clients’ continued compliance with gaming laws and their reputation among gaming regulators for honesty, integrity and business acumen. That is our value add.
Boutique Firm Focus, Full-Service Capabilities
Duane Morris’ gaming lawyers have the seamless support and resources of our full-service international law firm to assist clients in all facets of their gaming or gaming-related businesses. Our core gaming lawyers focus on regulatory and licensing issues and work closely with other Duane Morris lawyers when clients seek to establish new ventures, expand organically or by acquisition, raise debt or equity capital, or face other issues that arise in the course of business. At our core is a team with extensive experience in corporate transactions and commercial arrangements known for successfully navigating the most complex of matters. The intricate levels of regulatory compliance have made consolidation within the industry an increasingly attractive option. Our years of experience providing complex M&A, structuring and regulatory advice allow us to guide clients through all phases of their growth cycle. For example, in a typical bricks-and-mortar casino acquisition, our gaming lawyers will call upon lawyers from our corporate, real estate, environmental, labor and employment, intellectual property and finance groups as needed for due diligence and to review the provisions of transaction documents from different legal perspectives. Lawyers from our Trial Practice Group can assess any pending or threatened litigation against the target company. If the transaction involves raising capital, Duane Morris lawyers have extensive experience in syndicated loan or capital markets transactions. Our gaming lawyers manage the entire process to drive efficiencies and help ensure that every aspect of the transaction satisfies regulatory requirements.
Recognized in the Gaming Industry
Duane Morris gaming attorneys are frequently called upon by other firms to serve as special gaming counsel in connection with their clients’ transactions. Our attorneys are prolific authors and speakers on gaming issues and share insights and strategies on the latest developments in gaming law through industry publications, Duane Morris Alerts, the Duane Morris Gaming Law blog, CLE events and industry conferences.