September 13, 2019

Financing Gaming Operations: What Business Lawyers Need to Know from Development to Bankruptcy

Lawyers with a gaming law practice typically represent clients before regulatory bodies that monitor compliance with a broad range of requirements imposed by statute and through regulations.  But gaming attorneys necessarily have to develop expertise in other areas of law.   One of the notable characteristics of a gaming law practice is its intersection with other areas of business law:  tax law, bankruptcy, corporate finance, and intellectual property, to name just a few.  A gaming attorney must have considerable familiarity with these and other areas of business law, including business torts. 

Correspondingly, many business lawyers who do not represent clients in the gaming industry may come up against issues that in some way or another implicate gaming law.  Client transactions that, even indirectly, affect gaming interests may be impacted by the heavily regulated nature of gaming.  A business lawyer who says, “I don’t handle gaming law issues,” may be surprised when issues arise that require a knowledge of some aspects of gaming law.  For example, a client who conducts business with a gaming property can in some instances be called forward before a regulatory body for a determination of suitability.  In such a setting, an awareness of fundamental concepts of gaming law may be an important base of knowledge for the business lawyer.

With these considerations in mind, the Gaming Law Committee has undertaken a book project titled, “What Every Business Lawyer Needs to Know About Gaming Law.”  The book, forthcoming from the ABA in Fall 2019, will set out the basic structure of the gaming industry and the elaborate framework of regulation and licensing that is characteristic of the industry.  It will also cover topics such as:  dealings with Indian tribes, issues of corporate financing and restructuring, anti-money laundering requirements, social gaming, enforceability of gaming debts, internet gaming, and problem gambling.  The book will also offer background on gaming issues that have a high public profile such as sports betting and lotteries.  We expect our primary audience to be business lawyers who don’t specialize in gaming but who represent clients with business interests that may occasionally involve gaming law.

“Financing Gaming Operations: What Business Lawyers Need to Know from Development to Bankruptcy,” one of the Gaming Law Committee’s two CLE programs for the Annual Meeting, stems from the work on the book.  For this session, the focus is on financing gaming operations. Even attorneys experienced in financing of sophisticated business enterprises may not realize the particular rules and regulations that attach to financing casinos and other gaming operations. For example, state-specific licensing and other gaming regulations apply to commercial casinos, while federal and tribal laws and regulations apply to Indian casinos. This program will cover financing of gaming operations, from the start of the project to the worst-case scenario: issues related to financing and development, as well as restructuring and bankruptcy, for both commercial and tribal casinos. 

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