Gaming & Hospitality

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Gaming and hospitality law is rapidly expanding into exciting new disciplines. Casinos and casino developers, online providers, gaming-device and associated equipment manufacturers, and related organizations encounter a variety of legal and regulatory issues unique to their operations and activities. With so much at stake, they need a law firm that has a dedicated and experienced team that is ready to provide a full spectrum of legal solutions.

Dickinson Wright is 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 Toronto, Ontario. Our Gaming and Hospitality practice group represents clients in all facets of the gaming and hospitality industry.

Whether licensing applications for domestic and international device manufacturers and developers, drawing up esports wagering regulations or consulting in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, disciplinary matters, and legislative advocacy, Dickinson Wright can help you reach your ideal outcomes.

Our Clients

Our Gaming and Hospitality team represents clients across the spectrum of this diverse industry, including:

• Casino resorts and hotels
• Developers, owners, and financiers
• Gaming device and associated equipment manufacturers
• Betting software companies
• Video game, arcade, slot machine designers and distributors
• Race pool and sportsbook operators
• Online gaming and fantasy sports companies
• Esports companies
• Taverns, restaurants, and nightclubs
• Alcohol wholesalers, distributors, and retailers
• Entertainment companies
• Sweepstakes, contests, and other promotion providers

Our Team


Our clients benefit from the combined expertise of our talented Gaming and Hospitality attorneys. Our team includes transactional lawyers, litigators, compliance committee advisors, lobbyists, engineers, and specialists in gaming and technology, with decades of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry.

Our attorneys have drafted and passed key gaming law legislation on behalf of gaming industry clients, including legislation streamlining the testing of gaming equipment and expanding the footprint of gaming enterprise districts that allow for casino resort development in the City of Las Vegas.

We are the subject-matter experts. Members of the team wrote the definitive book on Gaming Law in the United States, having authored the 2016 – 2020 editions, of the LexisNexis publication Gaming Law and Practice. They have also recently authored the introductory chapter covering “regulated gambling in the United States for The Law of Regulated Gaming: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers (American Bar Association), as well as the chapter on gambling in Nevada for the International Comparative Legal Guide: Gambling 2019, the global legal guide on common issues in gambling laws and regulations in 34 jurisdictions. And we keep clients up to date on key developments in the gaming and hospitality industry with regular updates via our Gaming and Hospitality Legal Newsletter.

Dickinson Wright is ranked in Chambers USA® as a leading law firm in numerous practice areas including “Gaming Law” which reflects the legal talent of our team. We are also regularly listed in the top bands for Gaming & Licensing in Chambers Canada®, and Chambers Global®.

 Our Services

eSports and Social Gaming: The recent focus on “social experience” at casino resorts has resulted in an increased interest in esports, which had previously been outside of the gaming sector. Today, gaming authorities are being asked to examine possible wagering opportunities for these types of events, increasing the need for advocacy in assuring that regulations protect both the casinos and the customers. 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.

Sports and Entertainment: Our gaming law team provides a broad range of services for those involved in the creation, production, and the performance and management of immersive experiences. We represent an international clientele of artists, celebrities, athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs. Our gaming law practice spans the full sports and entertainment spectrum.

Construction Land Use & Zoning: Las Vegas attracts diverse businesses, tourists, and groups from around the world that want to be part of this premier destination. Of course, the legal issues involved in developing commercial, residential, and industrial properties provide their own challenges. We have advised clients in an array of projects such as the construction and operation of a state-of-the-art golf facility on the Strip and the acquisition and construction loan financing for casino renovations in both Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. No matter the scale, Dickinson Wright’s team can help individuals and businesses make their mark in the United States’ most exciting gambling venues.

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.

Our lawyers have represented gaming industry participants and major international banks in the financing of new and renovated casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, including the purchase of resort hotel properties and the acquisition of a major manufacturer and distributor of redemption kiosk devices, whose devices are located in more than 200 casinos nationwide. We represent parties on “all sides of the table” — buyers, sellers, equity investors, mezzanine investors, borrowers, and lenders — providing exceptional knowledge and acumen to help our clients meet their goals.

Government Affairs: Our government affairs team members have built strong relationships and are trusted representatives for clients in gaming jurisdictions, including the gaming mecca of Las Vegas, where our attorneys have played a vital role in updating and amending Nevada’s gaming statutes and regulations to allow for industry growth and innovation. We also regularly represent gaming industry clients before state and local boards and commissions.

International Gaming Law: Dickinson Wright works with an international network to facilitate and assist clients in establishing foreign gaming operations in regulated jurisdictions. Our team has been an integral part of working with emerging gaming jurisdictions, including drafting gaming laws and regulations for use by new jurisdictions.

Litigation: When disagreements between players in the gaming 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.

Additionally, our gaming and hospitality lawyers work closely with other practice areas within the firm to ensure that we address and mitigate every potential point of concern that may emerge, including:

Representative Matters 

Served as special Nevada gaming counsel to a lender group comprised of three large lenders to provide financing for the $4.25 billion acquisition of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The deal is the largest in the history of Las Vegas casino financings with the acquiring group’s joint venture to acquire the Bellagio’s real estate and lease it back to MGM for an initial annual rent of $245 million. MGM will lease the property and continue to manage and operate it on a day-to-day basis. 

Served as gaming counsel to Crane Payment Innovations in connection with its $180MM acquisition of Cummins Allison, which specializes in payment methods utilized on the gaming floor. The parent company provides everything from currency and coin counting and validation equipment to providing transaction and performance data on customer spending, to mobile payment solutions. The deal was complex, including navigating gaming regulatory issues to license the combined entity across more than 150 states provincial, and tribal jurisdictions. 

Served as special Nevada counsel to billionaire Phil Ruffin in connection with his acquisition of Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International. The $825 million deal includes the 5-acre Adventuredome amusement part, a 10-acre RV park, and 37-acre festival grounds. The transaction, which requires Nevada regulatory approval, closed in late 2019. The Circus Circus property will be updated to feature a stadium-style gaming area, and its existing RV Park will be transformed into a sand-beach pool with a wave machine. With net revenues of $65.9 million in Q3 2019, the multi-use entertainment venue’s purchase is comprised of $662.5 million paid in cash and a $162.5 million note, due 2024.• Represented MSOP Entertainment, a company backed by Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberté, in connection with the construction and operation of a state-of-the-art golf putting facility on the Las Vegas Strip.

Served as Nevada gaming counsel to the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in negotiation of the intellectual property and other rights necessary to develop a Margaritaville-themed gaming area at the Flamingo. This area is approximately 15,000 square feet and includes 22 table games and 220 slot machines.

Assisted commercial casino developers by obtaining gaming licenses, gaining approval of state constitutional amendments and gaming legislation, and providing counsel in support of the financing, construction, and operation of casinos.

Negotiated tribal/state Indian gaming compacts and tribal/municipality casino development agreements, represented tribal interests nationwide and guided developers and vendors in the intricacies of tribal sovereign nation contracting.

Represented applicants before the Nevada State Contractor’s Board, and appeared before the various planning and zoning boards which make regional infrastructure services evaluations and issue variances and use permits for high impact projects and projects of regional significance.

Counsel to MGM Grand Detroit, LLC in obtaining casino licensure in Detroit, Michigan, and regarding various regulatory and gaming matters.

Drafted legislative amendments and counseled clients regarding amendments to gaming legislation enacted by the government of Ontario.

External in-house IP counsel for an emerging online gaming company that recently went public and has completed over $250 million in acquisitions.

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