Find a Gaming Law Lawyer

Gaming and gambling are big business—and growing bigger in the United States. It's becoming such a popular revenue-generating strategy that 30 states in 2003 had 45 new gambling proposals, some touted as an alternative to raising taxes. Even more than the explosion in establishing state lotteries or opening casinos on Native American lands, online betting has grown exponentially — and across borders.

The boom in legalization of gaming in casino-style games or in lotteries in nearly every state has even resulted in several universities offering a major or an associate degree program in gaming management. So it's a sure bet that gaming law is an area now being closely looked at from many perspectives. Gaming is no longer just a Nevada deal.

The landscape for gaming includes state lotteries, pari-mutuel racing facilities, charitable casino-style gaming and bingo, as well as retail sweepstakes programs.

“Gambling” and “gaming” differ, according to expert Chuck Humphrey. The distinction lies in the fact that the word gaming is “usually reserved for those instances where the activity has been specifically legalized by applicable laws or where the activity is exempted from the criminal laws.” ( Gaming could turn out to be gambling, he warns, if applicable laws are violated — and vice versa.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs is one of the federal bodies involved in establishing gaming laws. Although gaming law is somewhat regulated by federal laws, gaming regulations also vary from state to state and according to whether they are located on rivers or oceans, public land or Native American land. The various states have jurisdictional authority on gaming issues relating to lotteries, sweepstakes, social gambling and unlicensed casino-style (including riverboats) gambling. State agencies governing gaming are usually referred to as a “division of gaming,” department of gaming, “division of special revenue,” a “lottery commission,” or a “racing and gaming commission.”

Services of a Gaming Lawyer

Clients with gaming law problems requiring the expertise of a lawyer range from the gaming operators to the industry's supply-chain companies and manufacturers of equipment. Lawyers can assist with documentation including contracts and sales agreements as well as licenses and permits. They also have resources for performing employment background checks (for clients who operate gaming facilities), handling all aspects of collecting debts, and complying with tax regulations.

Or clients may be the gamers themselves. By the way; if you're accused of breaking gaming/gambling laws, can your email and cell phone records be used against you? (Do you feel lucky? Your best bet might be to hire a lawyer and get the facts!)

By Kathleen Goolsby           

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