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Baker Donelson's Gaming Industry Service Team is a multidisciplinary group of experienced attorneys and advisors who are sensitive to the specialized needs and concerns of gaming clients.

Featured Experience

Acted as counsel to reorganized debtor owning casino properties in Mississippi and Louisiana in bankruptcy emergence transaction.

Assisted a long-time gaming client in obtaining Louisiana and Mississippi gaming regulatory and certain other regulatory approvals required in connection with the client's spin-off of its real estate assets into a real estate investment trust (REIT). 

Represented the purchaser of a casino and hotel property in Mississippi with an acquisition price of more than $230 million.

Industry Overview

Overview

Baker Donelson's Gaming Industry Service Team is a multidisciplinary group of experienced attorneys and advisors who are sensitive to the specialized needs and concerns of gaming clients. Team members are located in our Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee offices, and routinely leverage our Firm's wide-ranging knowledge and multi-state presence to provide experienced representation in both gaming and non-gaming matters across multiple jurisdictions.

Members of the team include past and current presidents of the International Association of Gaming Advisors, as well as attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (since 1995), Super Lawyers (since 2006) and Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers (since 2005).

Team members routinely appear before the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and other state and local agencies and governmental bodies on behalf of a wide range of companies and individuals from all sectors of the gaming industry and all parts of the globe. Our clients are headquartered throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, and include casino developers and operators, horse racetrack projects, bingo operators, gaming equipment manufacturers and gaming device distributors as well as their equity holders, officers, directors, key employees, gaming employees, lenders and landlords.

Domestic and international businesses and individuals seeking gaming licenses and related approvals rely on us, as well as those who already hold such licenses and/or approvals. For example:

  • For those seeking to develop a new casino, our team can assist them in structuring and forming an entity to hold the gaming operator license; in securing a proposed casino site; in obtaining all regulatory approvals required to build and operate a casino on that site and in securing project financing.
  • For casino developers and manufacturers and distributors of gaming devices and associated gaming equipment, team members can inform them of all licensing and related approval requirements and also shepherd them and their affiliates (e.g., holding companies, equity owners, management and employees), through all stages of the application and investigation processes to receive a gaming license, holding company registration, finding of suitability, key employee license or work permit.
  • For persons already holding gaming licenses or other gaming approvals, we can provide a number of services. Team members can advise them regarding the structure of proposed financing and equity transactions (e.g. private placements, public offerings and extensions of credit) so as to minimize gaming issues and assist them in obtaining any regulatory approvals required in connection with those transactions. We can aid in their efforts to obtain gaming device, system and equipment approvals. We can represent them in disciplinary matters before gaming regulators and in casino patron disputes. Our team can apprise them of, and analyze for them, pending legislation that could potentially affect the gaming industry. We can aid them in drafting and implementing compliance plans. Our attorneys can also provide guidance and representation to gaming licensees and their affiliates regarding real estate matters, contract disputes, labor and employment issues, construction disputes, collection matters, financings, tort and insurance matters, securities transactions, tax matters, marketing and advertising issues and general commercial matters.
  • For those seeking to acquire an existing casino, gaming device, associated equipment manufacturer or distributor, we can provide guidance regarding a transaction structure that will minimize regulatory issues and assistance throughout the related licensing and approval processes.

Members of the Gaming Industry Service Team continually update their knowledge of the current regulatory environment and the gaming industry in order to benefit our clients. Among other things, we attend all meetings of the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board; we monitor the regulatory decisions and rule changes of these regulators and of other bodies that affect the gaming industry; we review gaming-related periodicals and industry publications; and we attend industry expositions.

Representative Matters
  • Acted as counsel to reorganized debtor owning casino properties in Mississippi and Louisiana in bankruptcy emergence transaction.

  • Assisted a long-time gaming client in obtaining Louisiana and Mississippi gaming regulatory and certain other regulatory approvals required in connection with the client's spin-off of its real estate assets into a real estate investment trust (REIT). 

  • Represented the purchaser of a casino and hotel property in Mississippi with an acquisition price of more than $230 million.

  • Obtained local approvals for national casino owner of multiple financing transactions.
  • Acted as Louisiana counsel to Nevada gaming corporation in a $2.0 billion credit facility.

    (2016)
  • Represented buyer in a casino acquisition in Bossier City Louisiana. Obtained all regulatory approvals and handled all Louisiana corporate issues.

    (2016)
  • Handled Mississippi gaming approvals and filings required in connection with client's complex debt and equity restructuring.

  • Successfully defended casino and won summary judgment motion on all claims filed by plaintiff, a former blackjack dealer who alleged discrimination based on disability and failure to accommodate such disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff further asserted claims for retaliation and interference with her rights guaranteed under the Family Medical Leave Act.

  • Served as appellate counsel and obtained the reversal of a $1.9 million judgment against a gaming company and entry of judgment in client's favor in Mississippi Court of Appeals. Successfully opposed former judgment creditors motion for rehearing and petition for writ of certiorari to the Mississippi Supreme Court. (2014)
  • Defended a riverboat casino owner in a dram shop liability case filed in Texas federal court after an intoxicated casino patron, while driving on the wrong side of the interstate in Louisiana, struck a car from Texas, killing and severely injuring the occupants. Obtained a favorable settlement pursuant to Louisiana's dramshop liability law.
  • Represented riverboat casino owner in matter where obtained a favorable ruling from Louisiana Federal Court that riverboat was not a vessel, resulting in dismissal of serious personal injury claim.
  • Successfully argued for summary judgment in a premises liability action for a Mississippi casino
  • Advised gaming company in: (1) restructuring of Louisiana subsidiaries through multi-step process of mergers, conversions and liquidations, producing projected Louisiana tax savings of approximately $3 million per year; (2) issuance of $500 million worth of senior notes in connection with corporate refinancing; and (3) amendment of credit facility extending existing facility by $1.5 billion.

  • Acted as co-counsel to an international gaming equipment manufacturer/distributor in the Mississippi and Louisiana gaming licensing process, advocating for a client in complex licensing issues.

  • Successfully persuaded appellate court to reverse and render judgment in favor of casino following unsuccessful trial of contract dispute resulting in seven-figure verdict.

  • Counseled on development and debt-financing transactions for establishment of new, river-based casino.

  • $100 million acquisition of a casino, together with all regulatory approvals and local real estate and financing details.

Preeminent gaming practice that acts for an impressive roster of national and international clients. Renowned for its involvement in complex litigation, transactions and regulatory matters for clients such as gaming device manufacturers, casino developers and lenders.

Preeminent gaming practice that acts for an impressive roster of national and international clients. Renowned for its involvement in complex litigation, transactions and regulatory matters for clients such as gaming device manufacturers, casino developers and lenders.

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