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Thursday, April 20, 2017

IMGL MIAMI SPRING CONFERENCE


The International Masters of Gaming Law Spring Conference is set for May 10-12 at the Turnberry Isle resort in Miami, Florida.

Following evening social events on Wednesday, May 10, the CLE-rated conference commences Thursday morning with a comprehensive focus on gaming developments in North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe.

Highlights of the conference include comprehensive discussions by leading gaming attorneys from around the world on such diverse topics as sports betting in the United States; the impact of the 2016 USA election is on the United States gaming market; the expansion of intrastate Internet gaming beyond New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware; the prospects for Internet-related gaming legislation in Congress; global developments in gaming technology; gaming and tax policy in Europe; current and projected developments in tribal and commercial gaming in the United States; the expansion of state lottery activity on the Internet; and the status of horse racing on a global basis.

Conference participants will also be able to attend the horse races at Gulfstream Park, one of the leading race tracks in the country and the home of many great Florida thoroughbreds.

Persons interested in attending the conference may obtain conference details on the International Masters of Gaming Law website, which includes further details regarding the conference and easy conference and hotel registration processes. It is especially important to book hotel reservations as quickly as possible as the Turnberry Isle resort is an extremely popular facility and the special room rate bookings are limited.
 

Monday, April 10, 2017

NEVADA LEADS THE WAY ON ESPORTS WAGERING


April 5, 2017

by Greg Gemignani, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Jennifer Gaynor, and Jeff Silver

Perhaps the hottest topic in gaming today is the growth of professional esports. Esports are – essentially – professional video game tournaments and contests. Audiences for such tournaments have been filling stadiums in Asia and Europe for the last few years. The phenomenon is just beginning to gain popularity in the U.S., but the acceptance of esports as a spectator event is growing rapidly.

To put esports popularity in perspective, the League of Legends Championship Finals drew 43 million unique online viewers while Major League Baseball’s World Series drew about 40 million viewers, and the final game of the NBA Championships drew only an estimated 31 million viewers. Viewership of the League of Legends Championship was primarily through online streaming rather than terrestrial or satellite television.

As with other competitive spectator-driven events, wagering is occurring on esports. Estimates vary widely, but the worldwide esports betting market is likely measured in the billions of dollars, with wagering occurring primarily in Asia and Europe. However, at a recent esports seminar in Las Vegas, an analyst from the United Kingdom estimated that illegal wagers from the U.S. were rising in correspondence to the rising popularity of the activity.


View entire Gaming and Hospitality Practice Newsletter here.  For more information, please contact these attorneys in our Las Vegas office at 702-550-4400.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Esports Wagering Legal Risks


Greg Gemignani (Member, Las Vegas) spoke at the March 23, 2017  “Esports and Esports Wagering” Seminar held at the University of Nevada Willian S. Boyd Law School, and in collaboration with the International Center for Gaming Regulation.  Greg gave a presentation regarding Esports Wagering Legal Risks.  He was also part of the round table discussion for the final session of the day-long event.
 
 
For more information, or if you would like to contact Greg Gemignani in our Las Vegas office, please call
702-550-4468.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sports Betting Legalization Gaining Steam?

By:  Kate Lowenhar-Fisher


When Kate Lowenhar-Fisher (Member, Las Vegas) went to speak at an event at Fordham University in NYC last Friday, she had no idea she would be on Yahoo! Finance Sportsbook.com speaking about how sports betting legalization is gaining steam.  She also discussed the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas, NV and the zero impact such a move would have on game "integrity".

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

“Casinos & Money Laundering: An Industry Scorecard” article summary


Jeffrey Silver (Of Counsel, Las Vegas) was quoted extensively in an article titled “Casinos & Money Laundering: An Industry Scorecard” in the March 2017 edition of Global Gaming Business Magazine.  The article discusses the global Financial Action Task Force report which applauded the stateside industry for its increased focus on raising awareness and improving compliance of the 2007 Bank Secrecy Act. Jeff discussed the fact that reports are “investigated in a real-time, online basis,” and that “the price of compliance is eternal vigilance.” To read the full article, click here.

You may contact Jeff Silver in our Las Vegas office at 702-550-4482. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Let’s Be Blunt: Recreational Marijuana Will Bring New Regulatory Challenges to Gaming Licensees in Nevada

By Jennifer Gaynor, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Greg Gemignani, and Jeff Silver

As Nevada voters are bombarded with messaging both for and against the legalization of recreational marijuana leading up to the vote on “Question 2” on the November state ballot, Nevada’s gaming industry watches with what we imagine must be a mix of interest and trepidation.

On the one hand, there is the promise of increased tourism to Nevada should Question 2, Nevada’s recreational marijuana initiative, pass in November. For example, sources (including NSDUH, Marijuana Policy Group, RCG Economics, Travel Nevada, and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) estimate that “the passage of Question 2 and the responsible implementation of recreational use marijuana” could bring an estimated 6,800,719 potential adult-use Nevada tourists aged 21 and up in 2018.[1]

Anything that increases visitor volume is a boost for gaming and hospitality revenues.

On the other hand, if recreational marijuana becomes legal, the state’s gaming licensees will also see a related uptick in regulatory scrutiny.

Nevada’s gaming regulators, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (“Board”) and Nevada Gaming Commission (“Commission”), have already drawn a line in the sand when it comes to Nevada’s gaming licensees having any involvement with the medical marijuana business. In a May 2014 Notice to Licensees, Board Member Terry Johnson warned that “…the Board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming.” The Board solidified its position in its July 2014 hearing with the pronouncement that a person could not be in the gaming business if his or her spouse was in the medical marijuana business. And in August 2015, Board Member Terry Johnson further cautioned that the Board would include in its scrutiny “persons such as landlords too that might be involved in the gaming context and concurrently in the medical marijuana context.” (Click here to read our “Landlords, Beware! Medical Marijuana and Gaming: How Close Is Too Close?” article from November 2015.)

Fast-forward to Fall 2016. More than twenty medical marijuana dispensaries are operational across Nevada, including at least a couple of locations in very close proximity to the Strip. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot for the November election. But marijuana is still an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. And the operation of a gaming facility still requires a privileged state license, which is worth far more to Nevada gaming operators than any uptick in tourist revenues from the lure of recreational marijuana.

It seems fairly clear that Nevada’s gaming operators will need to steer clear of investment in or ownership of recreational marijuana businesses, as they have with medical marijuana businesses. Similarly, they would be wise to avoid leasing property, especially that within the footprint of their gaming facilities, to anyone in the recreational marijuana business. But with a potential huge expansion in marijuana use in the state, especially among the “green” tourists, gaming operators will want to consider their plans for how to deal with customers who came not just for good gaming, entertainment, food and shopping, but also for the recreational marijuana experience.

Just a few questions to consider: How will this impact the operation of the day clubs and night clubs located on gaming resort premises? What about customers who want to partake of marijuana on the casino floor or in their hotel rooms? What will gaming licensees be expected to provide as far as security and enforcement regarding the possession and/or use of recreational marijuana on their premises? Will they be expected to monitor or deter the delivery of recreational marijuana to customers who are staying at their resorts? What about trade shows or conventions related to medical marijuana on their premises? What kind of due diligence must casinos conduct on their tenants and vendors? How will this affect problem gambling policies and procedures? The list of issues that will need to be addressed by gaming licensees is lengthy.

The State’s concerns about recreational marijuana are clear, as evidenced by the gaming regulator’s stance on medical marijuana and the public opposition to Question 2 by Nevada’s Governor, Brian Sandoval. The big question, therefore, is if Question 2 passes, how can Nevada’s casino-resorts reap the benefits of recreational marijuana tourism without running afoul of the gaming regulators? This dilemma will be faced by gaming industry executives who are actively marketing to attract millennials, knowing that this age group will likely become the largest customer for recreational marijuana use.

The answer: Following the gaming regulators’ lead is often the most prudent choice. Nevada’s gaming regulators do not have any obligation to change their current stance on marijuana involvement by licensees. Therefore, should Question 2 pass in November, gaming licensees would be wise to follow the regulatory process closely and review and revise their policies and contracts in preparation. Our Nevada gaming team is closely tracking developments in this area and can help gaming licensees to navigate through these perilous waters if and when recreational marijuana becomes a reality in Nevada.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fantasy Sports Bill Proposed for Nevada

By Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Jennifer Gaynor, Greg Gemignani, and Jeff Silver

On August 23, 2016, the two largest daily fantasy sports (“DFS”) operators, DraftKings and Fan Duel, will be presenting their proposed Nevada daily fantasy sports legislation (the “Proposed Bill”) to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee in Las Vegas. If enacted, the Proposed Bill would create a new class of licensee for fantasy sports operators offering pay-to-play-and-win contests in Nevada. Like other forms of gaming license, the new Operator of Fantasy Sports (“OFS”) license would be granted by the Nevada Gaming Commission (“Commission”).

Unlike other forms of gaming license, the Commission would (i) be compelled to grant a license to any OFS applicant with a completed application along with a $500 application fee, (ii) be precluded from issuing regulations applicable to contests, contest operations, or betting platforms, (iii) not have discretionary licensing powers related to OFS operations, and (iv) be limited to imposing a maximum $1000 fine for any enforcement or disciplinary action. Additionally, there is no provision in the Proposed Bill for Nevada regulators to investigate OFS applicants, nor is there a requirement that applicants must be found suitable as is required for other gaming licenses granted by the Commission. The license fee for an OFS license is set at $10,000 with no other applicable taxes. Finally, the Proposed Bill would deem fantasy sports to not be a sports pool, a gambling game, or a lottery under Nevada statutes.

The Proposed Bill is a response to an Industry Notice issued by the Nevada State Gaming Control Board that reflected the opinion of the Attorney General of Nevada that DFS was a form of sports pool wagering permitted in Nevada so long as it was offered by a licensed sports pool operator. As a sports wagering product, Nevada regulators believed DFS regulation was permissible despite the general prohibition in the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) on regulating any contest based directly or indirectly on the performance of athletes because Nevada has a broad exemption under PASPA to regulate sports pool activities. Since the two largest DFS operators lacked a sports pool operator’s license, they stopped offering DFS contests to Nevada residents.

If enacted, the Proposed Bill would pave the way for DFS operators to offer DFS contests to Nevada residents. The Proposed Bill does not exempt current gaming licensees from suitability requirements or regulatory requirements regarding suitable operations based on their interaction or involvement with DFS or an OFS licensee. The Proposed Bill is solely a Nevada bill and has no impact on the laws of other states or federal law. Whether current Nevada gaming licensees will participate in interstate DFS or be involved with an OFS licensee involved with interstate DFS is not clear because at least 10 states have Attorney General Opinions identifying DFS as an illegal form of gambling and two federal prosecutors’ offices have confirmed that there are ongoing investigations regarding the legality of DFS in interstate commerce under federal law.

The proposed legislation is one of the topics that will be addressed at the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee’s meeting on August 23, 2016. No action will be taken by the Policy Committee in this meeting regarding the legislation, which is on the agenda only for discussion. The Policy Committee is tasked by Nevada Governor Sandoval with preparing recommendations on issues including daily fantasy sports for consideration by the Commission, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the Nevada Legislature.

The full text of the Proposed Bill may be found at: http://gaming.nv.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=11359