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Gaming

Client and Industry Challenges

Members of the casino and gaming industry regularly face legal challenges and opportunities, including navigating the regulatory and permitting process; developing new projects; negotiating complex transactions; addressing labor and employment concerns; protecting, enforcing and defending intellectual property; managing tax and real estate issues; and handling potential litigation or disputes with affiliated businesses or patrons. Gaming businesses need counsel who can react quickly, economically and effectively to address virtually any legal situation that arises.

Snell & Wilmer’s gaming law services include representation on substantive legal and regulatory gaming issues on a national basis. Our gaming lawyer team understands how to help clients navigate the complex regulatory and legal environments that confront businesses in the gaming industry.

Clients We Serve

Snell & Wilmer’s gaming attorneys have represented casinos and gaming organizations, resorts and recreational businesses, gaming vendors and others doing business on Indian lands, development companies, management firms and financers.

Why Clients Select Us

Breadth and Depth: Our clients benefit from our full-service approach and industry experience. Whether we are involved in the development, purchase, sale, tax or management of gaming operations, our casino and gaming attorneys understand the legal issues that arise and guide our clients to address them proactively and strategically.

Experience

Our gaming lawyer team has experience with a broad range of business and legal concerns that affect the gaming industry. We have assisted gaming clients with various legal issues in the areas of general licensing and regulation, Indian law, online gaming, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, lobbying and legislative affairs, real estate and finance, construction, litigation, immigration, labor and employment, and government and internal investigations. Specific examples of our gaming industry experience and services include:

Regulatory

  • Drafted gaming ordinances and regulations
  • Drafted and negotiated of gaming management contracts and collateral documents
  • Represented clients before state and tribal gaming agencies on regulatory, licensing, background investigations and disciplinary matters
  • Represented client in matters involving online gaming

Native American Affairs

  • Obtained approval for gaming management contracts and collateral documents from the National Indian Gaming Commission and/or the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Obtained "declination" letters from the National Indian Gaming Commission on agreements not constituting management contracts
  • Negotiated of Tribal-State Compacts
  • Represented on land-into-trust acquisitions for gaming and non-gaming purposes.
  • Assisted clients in federal recognition process for Indian tribes
  • Prepared Classification opinions (Class II vs. Class III) for gaming devices and other games to be offered by tribal gaming operations
  • Represented client in leasing of land, easements, rights-of-way, and similar land-use issues in Indian County
  • Represented client with issues relating to the National Environmental Policy Act, water rights, natural resources, Endangered Species Act and related environmental issues pertaining to tribal gaming operations
  • Negotiated Intergovernmental Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding for providing municipal services (e.g., water, sewer, fire, EMT, police) in support of tribal gaming operations

Intellectual Property

  • Served as counsel to several major Las Vegas casino resorts and hotels regarding trademark and copyright infringement (both enforcement and defense) and intellectual property/technology asset transfer as part of an acquisition, and related licensing aspects
  • Represented gaming device companies in enforcing patents for slot machines and other gaming systems
  • Defended gaming companies in various trademark and patent infringement matters
  • Represented three of the largest gaming device manufacturers in the world on licensing matters related to tribal gaming operations
  • Represented gaming company in connection with investigating and prosecuting counterfeiting claims, including seeking a temporary restraining order, permanent injunction and damages against the counterfeiter

Privacy and Data Protection

  • Assisted an international gaming technology organization in identifying and responding to a data breach incident involving the records of members of a casino’s membership rewards program

Lobbying and Legislative Affairs

  • Drafting proposed legislation, ruling requests, formal position papers and technical comments relating to the gaming industry
  • Informing clients on legislative and regulatory developments on gaming issues
  • Representing gaming clients called to testify before legislative committees and file comments on behalf of our clients in ongoing government rule-making proceedings

Real Estate and Finance

  • Represented a casino and hotel operating company for two Las Vegas properties, each located on multiple adjacent ground leased parcels, to restructure and reduce ground lease payments to reflect reduced hotel/casino revenue due to economic recession and significantly deflated fair market value of ground leased parcels
  • Served as local counsel for a mixed-use Las Vegas project including two condominium hotel towers, a casino and significant retail space; assisted with all aspects of development including HUD registration and condominium documents, reciprocal easement agreements, construction financing and development of rental program
  • Represented national lender on multi-million dollar sale of gaming loan portfolio and refinancing of existing casino revenue secured loan
  • Represented Native American gaming enterprise in master planning, leasing, and developing their casino, resort, and commercial retail projects
  • Represented casino developers in putting land into trust and developing gaming and resort-related facilities
  • Represented national lender and developer in documenting loans, leases and easements governed under Native American law
  • Represented developer in master planning and leasing 640-acre industrial park on Indian lands
  • Represented vacation ownership and hotel operator in developing projects on Indian lands
  • Represented enterprise in master planning 9,000 acres of land, expanding the current airport and developing a resort and other facilities
  • Represented Native American gaming enterprise in master planning, leasing, and developing their casino, resort and commercial retail projects
  • Drafted management agreement of Native American community spa and report property south of Phoenix, Arizona

Construction

  • Provided counsel to a hospitality corporation in various aspects of casino business, including construction financing and the expansion and renovation of its Laughlin, Las Vegas and Atlantic City properties, as well as the purchase of river boat gambling operations
  • Represented gaming enterprises in documenting their design and construction form contracts

Litigation

  • Defended gaming clients in federal and state courts, on issues involving surrounding sovereign immunity, fee-to-trust applications, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Indian Reorganization Act and compact interpretation/ratification
  • Defended a Las Vegas Strip resort property in multiple plaintiff claims arising out of legionella outbreaks and has provided counsel to resorts on the handling of such cases and remediation efforts
  • Represented numerous Las Vegas casino properties in disputes with joint venture partners, restaurant tenants and performance artists
  • Advised multi-billion dollar master-planned urban complex located on the Las Vegas Strip on closing and post-closing disputes
  • Defended a hotel/casino in purported nationwide class action relating to a telephone surcharge

Immigration

  • Represented companies and business professionals with nonimmigrant visa issues
  • Assisted businesses and individuals with immigrant visa, permanent resident and naturalization matters
  • Assisted businesses with immigration compliance matters including ICE audits
  • Provided best practices to companies in the immigration area
  • Provided up-to-date information to clients on immigration law changes
  • Worked with the CIS and Department of Labor on behalf of clients

Labor and Employment

  • Represented on-line gaming entity by negotiating and drafting employment and consulting agreements
  • Represented gaming manufacturer and obtained injunctive relief from the United States District Court against former employee who violated restrictive covenants and common law duties

Government and Internal Investigations

  • Conducted an investigation for management of a gaming device company related to accounting and export issues
  • Represented gaming device company in negotiations with government agency related to export issues