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Competitive video gaming has grown from niche events into a global multi-billion-dollar esports industry, paving the way for professional esports teams and athletes, professional leagues, publisher leagues, esports streaming channels, and even esports television channels. With this growth has come an increasing number of legal issues for esports promoters, venues, teams, game publishers, sponsors, and media companies.
Our firm has been providing legal services to those in and those supporting the esports industry before it was called the esports industry. The issues with esports and competitive video gaming touch on many legal disciplines including, gambling laws, media laws, intellectual property laws, rights of publicity, commercial promotions, immigration, labor laws, and entertainment law.
Since the late 1990s when the Sega Dreamcast became the first popular game console with built-in networking (dial-up, but it worked!), attorneys at our firm have been providing a wide range of legal services related to the competitive video gaming industry. Today, we continue to provide legal assistance to a wide range of industry participants to minimize legal risks and address novel legal questions as the industry continues to expand both domestically and abroad.
As a full-service law firm with offices located across the United States and in Canada including established gaming areas like Las Vegas, and Reno and in upcoming markets such as Washington, D.C., and Ontario, Dickinson Wright’s esports practice represents clients in esports, online gaming, sports wagering, and casino gaming, as well as in matters related to sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions.
We represent a variety of client in the esports gaming sector, including:
Game developers and publishers
eSports gaming venues
Sponsors, and other event promoters
Commercial organizations and businesses that service the industry
Members of our esports team are regularly listed in the top bands for Gaming & Licensing in Chambers Canada®, and Chambers Global®. Additionally, the group maintains a Gaming and Hospitality blog where they keep clients abreast of the latest developments in the gaming world. We also keep clients up to date on key developments in the gaming and hospitality industry with regular updates via our Gaming and Hospitality Legal Newsletter.
Our lawyers have experience in providing a 50-state review and analysis of esports and social gaming offerings. Depending on the jurisdiction, contests, and other promotions – which may at first appear to be non-gaming – could contain wagering elements that violate state or federal laws. We can advise on the risks, help you understand the regulations, and provide guidance in this expanding area of gaming law.
Gaming & Sports Wagering: Gaming and sports wagering are currently hot topics in the esports world with new sports wagering legal “experts” popping up every day. However, few of these “experts” have real-world experience representing sportsbooks, game publishers, hardware manufacturers, event promoters, and venues; as well as, experience drafting sports wagering laws for esports, drafting tournament rules, or working on esports related regulations. Our attorneys have frequently been called on to act as faculty for official governmental and university educational seminars regarding esports in several different states as well as several countries globally. Dickinson Wright is one of the few law firms in North America with actual experience applying and interpreting sports wagering laws and regulations. Our team counsels clients in all aspects related to gaming, esports wagering, and sports wagering.
Contract Negotiations, Sponsorships, and Endorsements: Sponsorships and endorsements can be either lucrative or restrictive. Our experienced team works directly with manufacturers, sponsors, and esports teams to continue to propel this fast-growing industry.
Licensing and Regulatory Compliance: Our gaming clients rely on us to advocate and collaborate on their behalf with state and federal agencies. We provide gaming law counsel to many of the world’s premier companies regarding anti-money laundering (AML), gaming devices, testing and metering systems, wagering systems, liquor licenses, and other industry-specific rules, and we draw on the knowledge and experience of the firm’s related practice areas such as government affairs, banking, insurance, labor, energy, and telecommunications for the benefit of our clients.
Intellectual Property: Our lawyers understand that protecting patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property assets and arrangements directly influences the bottom lines and long-term success of those in the esports gaming space. Our team has the knowledge, technical backgrounds, and subject matter proficiency to both understand esports and other technologies of our clients and to implement the most appropriate legal strategies to protect their interests and investments. With Dickinson Wright’s help, your company will remain at the forefront of the technological innovations that are shaping today’s esports gaming practices.
Entertainment: Our lawyers represent a number of celebrities in the online, social media, and mass media markets. As esports continues to grow, and as esports athletes become stars in their own right, our firm stands ready to assist those new stars with all aspects of their commercial lives.
Litigation: When disagreements between players and others in the esports industry cannot be resolved amicably, litigation becomes a reality. Our team of accomplished and skilled litigators has proven to be the best in their fields. From simple disputes to complex multidistrict, multi-party cases, our lawyers strive for the best and most strategic outcome, always with the client’s resources in mind.