Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Liability Potentially Extended to Gamblers

By: Michael Lipton, Q.C. (Partner, Toronto)
and Chantal Cipriano (Associate, Toronto)

Will the result of the controversial decision in Paton Estate v. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation1 (“OLGC”) impose a duty of care on the OLGC similar to the “commercial host”
duty of care that is owed by establishments serving alcohol?

The case arises out of the actions of a solicitor’s clerk, who due to a chronic gambling problem, stole millions of dollars from the Paton Estate (the “Estate”) and other clients of the solicitor’s firm by forging documents, and selling Estate assets. Over a fourteen month period, she lost millions belonging to the Estate by playing at an OLGC casino while misrepresenting herself as a lawyer. The causes of action against the OLGC included unjust enrichment, negligence and knowing receipt of trust funds for failure to scrutinize the source of the clerk’s money and permitting a compulsive gambler to continue gambling at its casinos.

The motion court judge struck the statement of claim on the grounds that the clerk misrepresenting herself as a lawyer to the operators of the OLGC’s casinos did not lead to the conclusion that the OLGC had notice she was gambling with trust funds obtained by fraud. In addition, the judge found that the OLGC had valid reasons for retaining money that it had received, since it did not owe a duty of care to the clerk as a problem gambler, and accordingly did not act negligently. Consequently, the claim was struck on the basis that it did not allege a reasonable cause of action and that it was “plain and obvious” the lawsuit would have no chance of success.

Please read the entire article here.

Please feel free contact Michael Lipton at 416-866-2929 or Chantal Cipriano at 416-646-6864 in our Toronto office.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nevada Passes New Law That Provides Flexibility for eSports Wagering

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

The Nevada Legislature has just passed Senate Bill 240 (SB240). This bill clarifies that the pari-mutuel system of gaming may be used for events other than horse racing, dog racing, or sporting events. Pari-mutuel is a betting system that allows the sports book or “house” to minimize risk in taking wagers because the wagers are placed together in a pool, with the winners sharing in the pool (after taxes and the house take or “vigorish” are removed).

This legislation was brought by the Boyd School of Law (at University of Nevada, Las Vegas) gaming law class of adjunct professors Greg Gemignani and Jennifer Roberts, working in close coordination with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission and the bill sponsor, Boyd alum Nevada Senator Becky Harris. The Boyd School of Law has a long tradition of bringing a gaming law bill to the Nevada Legislature each session – a tradition started by the late Bob Faiss, who was a professor of gaming law at Boyd for many years and is considered by many to be the “grandfather” of gaming law due to his involvement in drafting the original set of laws governing modern regulated gaming in Nevada.

With the growing popularity of “eSports” – competitive video games, where players often compete in a stadium-style tournament – the gaming law class believed that it would be helpful to provide flexibility to gaming operators in offering wagers on such events. But SB240 opens the door to the pari-mutuel system of gaming to not only eSports but also any other type of “other event” approved by Nevada regulators. This means that creative sports books could potentially take pari-mutuel bets on a wide range of events, including on the winners of competition shows like Dancing with the Stars.

Before a sports pool may take wagers on such “other event,” it must receive the approval of Nevada’s gaming regulators. Nevada’s gaming laws require that such other events must not be ones where the outcome is predetermined. As provided in the gaming regulations, a “licensed sports pool shall not accept a wager on an event unless the date and time at which the outcome of the event is determined can be confirmed from reliable sources satisfactory to the [Gaming Commission] chairman or from records created and maintained by the book in such manner as the chairman may approve.”

Other conditions for approval include that the sports book must provide a full description of the event and the manner in which wagers would be placed and winning wagers would be determined; a full description of any technology which would be utilized to offer the event; and “such other information or documentation which demonstrates that:

(1) The event could be effectively supervised;

(2) The outcome of the event would be verifiable;

(3) The outcome of the event would be generated by a reliable and independent process;

(4) The outcome of the event would be unlikely to be affected by any wager placed;

(5) The event could be conducted in compliance with any applicable laws; and

(6) The granting of the request for approval would be consistent with the public policy of the state.”

And, unlike in the United Kingdom, where the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton brought heavy wagering action, wagers on the outcome of political elections remain specifically verboten under Nevada law.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has already noticed its workshop to revise its regulations to implement SB240. On June 22, 2017, the Board will workshop its proposal to revise Regulation 26B, which governs pari-mutuel wagering on sporting events, to clarify that this regulation applies to pari-mutuel wagering on “other events” and to add the term “other event” where necessary to Regulation 26B to allow such other wagers to be included under the provisions of this regulation.

Jennifer Gaynor, Greg Gemignani, and Kate Lowenhar-Fisher are Members in Dickinson Wright’s Las Vegas office, and Jeff Silver is Of Counsel in the Las Vegas office. Jennifer Gaynor can be reached at 702.550.4462 or Jeff Silver can be reached at 702.550.4482 or
Disclaimer: Gaming & Hospitality Legal News is published by Dickinson Wright PLLC to inform our clients and friends of important developments in the fields of gaming law, federal Indian law, and hospitality law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. We encourage you to consult a Dickinson Wright attorney if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered in Gaming & Hospitality Legal News.

If you would like a printable version of this issue of Gaming & Hospitality Legal News, click here.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

DW Congratulates Attorneys from the firm’s Nevada offices included in Nevada Business’s Legal Elite 2017

We are very pleased to announce and would like to congratulate the  attorneys from the firm’s Nevada offices have been included in Nevada Business’s Legal Elite 2017.  DW had the third largest number of attorneys selected for this year’s list.  The Legal Elite list includes only the top 4 percent of attorneys in the state broken down by location, with break-out lists for the Best Up and Coming and Best Government attorneys. In order to be included, attorneys passed several levels of scrutiny. Ballots were reviewed for eligibility and each voting attorney was vetted through the State Bar of Nevada to confirm their good standing.  The following Dickinson Wright attorneys were included in Legal Elite 2017 for Gaming & Hospitality Law:

Southern Nevada:
Jennifer J. Gaynor (Member, Las Vegas) – Administrative & Agency Matter, Government Relations,
Gaming Law.
Gregory R. Gemignani (Member, Las Vegas) – Gaming Law, Information Technology, Internet Law.

Review the entire list by clicking here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Greg Gemignani Co-Authors Cover Article in Communique's May Edition

Greg Gemignani (Member, Las Vegas) co-authored the cover article, “Professional Sports and Wagering in Las Vegas,” for the May 2017 edition of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. The article discusses the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and addresses how the presence of professional sports teams in Las Vegas will impact regulated sports wagering in Nevada, the only state in the U.S. that offers full-scale wagering on sporting events.

Greg may be reached in our Las Vegas Office at 702-550-4468.

Monday, May 8, 2017


"Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above-board." 1

Two significant impediments exist to the expansion of sports wagering. The first is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA prohibits tribes or states from authorizing sports wagering,  and it prohibits anyone from relying on state law from offering any form of wagering on the outcome of games or the performance of athletes. PASPA contains a grandfathering exemption for states that conducted or regulated sports wagering before its enactment, which applies to four states (note only Nevada had broad-based, regulated sports wagering prior to enactment). PASPA, while not a criminal gambling statute, permits the U.S. Department of Justice or any impacted sports league to seek an injunction against states and those operating pursuant to state law. In order for sports wagering to expand beyond the four exempted states without the risk of being forced to stop by courts, PASPA would need to be amended or repealed.

Click here to read the entire article.

Greg Gemignani, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, and Jennifer Gaynor are Members in Dickinson Wright’s Las Vegas office, and Jeff Silver is Of Counsel in the Las Vegas office.  Jennifer Gaynor can be reached at 702.550.4462 or  Jeff Silver can be reached at 702.550.4482 or

Friday, May 5, 2017

National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) - Summer Meeting

National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) - Summer Meeting
Friday - Sunday, June 9 - 11, 2017
The Westin Denver Downtown in Denver, CO

Bob Stocker (Member & Gaming Practice Leader, Lansing) will be a speaker on Saturday, June 10th from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Panel Discussion - "The New Frontier: Emerging Forms of Gambling".
Legislators, regulators, operators and consumers are facing a fast-growing array of gaming choices, from daily fantasy sports to skill-based machines to virtual reality gaming. But determining what is already legal within a state’s framework – and how to regulate it – can be tricky. Even determining when an activity is simply “gaming” vs. “gambling” is open to legal debate when considering the traditional elements of prize, chance and consideration. Gaming attorneys and regulators provide their insights based on state law, court decisions and legal opinion.

The Summer Meeting agenda includes legislative committee sessions on Responsible Gaming, Pari-Mutuels, Lotteries, State-Federal Relations, and Casinos, as well as general sessions that examine sports betting, retail gaming, and new/emerging forms of gambling.

For more info and the agenda, please click here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


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.