Practice/Industry Group Overview
Duane Morris attorneys have decades of experience serving gaming, casino and related clients in all aspects of the gaming and entertainment industry on a global basis. We help our clients navigate the regulatory and permitting process, advise on capital development projects and construction transactions, handle labor and employment concerns, provide intellectual property protection, offer tax and real estate advice and handle any litigation or arbitration involving our clients when disputes arise in any setting. Our long history and extensive industry contacts—in the United States and abroad—help clients seeking to capitalize on opportunities, leverage contacts and address the challenges faced by owners and developers of casino, racing and entertainment venues. In this highly competitive forum, where timely, knowledgeable and practical professional advice can mean the difference between success and failure, Duane Morris is well-positioned to provide that advice and counsel, wherever our gaming clients reside.
Global Reach / Local Solutions
Hundreds of Duane Morris attorneys in close proximity to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the gaming centers of the world work to provide a wide array of legal services to clients—ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurial ventures and from public entities to individuals. Our expansive domestic geography is enhanced by our many attorneys who are qualified to practice in jurisdictions throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Australia. The firm also leverages its leadership position with an international network of independent law firms to address our clients' needs. Our clients are only a phone call away from savvy local practitioners with reach almost anywhere on the globe.
The Gaming Industry and Duane Morris
Our gaming contacts and clients run the gamut—from casinos and casino hotels, gaming manufacturers, suppliers and vendors, to owners and investors. The gaming industry in the United States is rapidly growing. Business opportunities abound, but the industry is highly regulated and closely scrutinized, and there is thus no room for error. Duane Morris' Gaming Law Group draws upon the experience and knowledge of a multidisciplinary team of lawyers who assist clients in all facets of their businesses. Whether establishing new ventures, expanding existing operations or dealing with issues that arise in the course of business, clients turn to the lawyers at Duane Morris to guide them. Our attorneys have both extensive experience with gaming law and regulatory requirements in established jurisdictions as well as a keen awareness of developing issues and evolving environments in jurisdictions that are being newly established, in the United States and across the world.
Duane Morris' gaming clients receive seamless counsel and advice in myriad areas, including licensing and regulatory issues, construction and development, litigation, intellectual property matters, financing and tax issues, corporate matters and labor and employment concerns. Our lawyers represent diverse members of the gaming industry, including casinos, gaming executives, gaming equipment manufacturers and distributors, investment advisors, greyhound and horse racetracks, Internet and software development companies and other parties that provide services and products to gaming enterprises. Our large geographic footprint and diverse capabilities make Duane Morris particularly well-suited to support the needs of both small and large gaming-related businesses.
Attorneys with Duane Morris represent casino operators in all stages of their businesses. With many years of experience representing some of the largest casino operations in the United States, our lawyers advise clients on licensing, regulatory compliance, civil litigation and litigation avoidance, intellectual property matters and labor and employment issues. Our transactional lawyers handle complex financing of all types for our gaming clients, including multimillion-dollar capital investments, loans, leases, partnerships and joint ventures. When embarking on new gaming projects, clients call upon Duane Morris attorneys to leverage their experience in real estate development, community relations and construction. Strategically located offices and wide-ranging capabilities make Duane Morris particularly well-suited to support the needs of large and growing gaming establishments that intertwine entertainment, retail, hospitality and community development.
Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and Technology
Duane Morris lawyers work with gaming equipment manufacturers, suppliers, software companies and others in the gaming industry to navigate the complexities of licensing and jurisdiction-specific compliance for their products, games and technologies. We represent clients in intellectual property licensing negotiations as well as patent filings and enforcement for various games, gaming hardware and software, security systems and other gaming processes, as well as trademarks and copyright issues. In addition to clients in the United States, Duane Morris represents various online gaming operators and "white label" service providers operating in Europe, Latin America, Asia and offshore jurisdictions. As with our clients in all industries, we regularly provide guidance in corporate transactions, financing, tax efficiency and commercial contracting and disputes.
Companies who provide products and technology for large lotteries, as well as those who operate greyhound and horse racetracks, turn to Duane Morris attorneys for assistance with legal issues and business challenges, ranging from licensing and compliance, to corporate transactions and intellectual property matters, to litigation and arbitration proceedings. For example, the firm has worked with a client on the implementation of a lottery in both China and Vietnam.
Gaming Industry Services
Complex Financial Transactions
Our attorneys represent clients in numerous types of complex financial transactions, including public financing, as well as project and structured finance transactions. Our project and structured finance attorneys represent clients in securitized and syndicated loans, participating and convertible loans, mezzanine and other hybrid loans and credit lease, synthetic lease and government lease financings. We have vast experience in structuring transactions to minimize gaming regulatory issues, with a goal toward obtaining all required approvals from all relevant gaming regulatory agencies. This includes regulatory approvals for public offerings, financings, business structures, private equity transactions and acquisitions related not only to casinos but also to gaming technology providers. We have represented private equity funds in multimillion-dollar investments in casinos and Native American gaming establishments. We have also represented banks, underwriters, hedge funds and individual investors.
Duane Morris attorneys have substantial experience in the development, design and construction of racing and casino projects. Time is money in construction, and never more so than when constructing a gaming facility. This and other issues unique to the gaming industry take the design and construction of facilities beyond the typical realm of commercial projects. Our sensitivity to and experience in addressing those issues enable our clients to allocate risk appropriately, without driving up cost needlessly. Our broad experience in the construction industry positions us to provide practical and business-oriented advice to assist our clients in finding legal and financial solutions. We frequently negotiate and draft development agreements; architectural, engineering and other design agreements; construction management agreements; general contracts; contracts for specialty equipment and interior fixtures and myriad other contracts necessary for the permitting, development, design and delivery of a project. We have counseled clients on capital projects across the United States, working with them to develop delivery systems to advance sometimes-competing priorities. Also, having had the experience of litigating many contractual issues impacting gaming facility construction, Duane Morris can bring that insight to bear in negotiating agreements.
However, construction projects do not always proceed as anticipated; and on occasion, disputes arise. Our collective breadth and depth of experience in litigation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods surrounding construction, as well as our unique industry knowledge, allow us to serve our clients wisely and tenaciously. Like our clients, we recognize that proper preparation and planning are essential to minimizing the often-disruptive effect of construction claims and disputes. We regularly work with our clients and their business teams to develop prompt, efficient and final means of dispute avoidance and resolution techniques that are aimed at eliminating the short- and long-term costs of lengthy disputes, which on gaming projects can have significant financial consequences.
Our goal is to develop a framework that minimizes or eliminates potential conflicts through careful, clear contract drafting and pragmatic, creative, business-oriented problem solving. When they could not be avoided, we have handled numerous construction disputes involving gaming projects arising both during the course of construction, where early intervention may alleviate later costly litigation, and when necessary, through trial and appeal. Our goal is to vigorously and efficiently advance our clients' interests in the successful and cost-effective completion of construction projects.
Duane Morris gaming law attorneys understand the intricate relationships between the gaming industry and local, state and federal governments, and we have working relationships with individuals in many of these areas. Our lawyers are experienced in representing gaming clients before administrative and regulatory boards and commissions. We can assist clients in the licensing process, from preparing an initial application through final regulatory hearings.
Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
We employ a multidisciplinary approach—drawing on the appropriate practice group and industry-specific professionals—and rely on attorneys from our many offices for multijurisdictional matters. Our attorneys represent corporate and individual clients in all types of civil litigation, from inception through trial and appeal. Our litigators have experience across a broad spectrum of subject areas, from complex business and commercial disputes, class actions and patent, copyright and trademark issues, to professional liability and employment matters.
Duane Morris trial lawyers also counsel clients in resolving matters without conventional litigation through alternative dispute resolution and other nonjudicial options. They are skilled in cutting-edge litigation technology, including database management of documents and depositions, digital video testimony and the latest electronic courtroom media, and they are experienced in issues relating to electronic discovery.
Our tax practice is an integral part of our transactional practice. We work closely with our clients to structure and effectuate complex transactions from a tax perspective to better fit our clients' business objectives. We also maintain an independent tax practice that focuses on public and private domestic and foreign business entities (corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies), private clients and tax-exempt organizations, including federal, state and local tax controversy matters for all of the foregoing.
The firm has been active in tax appeals on a national basis, and with our extensive experience, we achieved substantial savings for owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida representing a major casino and retail owner operator in Atlantic City and national developers and REITs in Pennsylvania and Florida. We provide gaming clients with proactive strategies for lowering real estate taxes, counseling them regarding business privilege and mercantile license taxes, sales and use taxes, and realty transfer and real property taxes. We help clients evaluate whether real estate tax relief is feasible or warranted, based on such factors as the range of tax savings that may reasonably be expected if an appeal is taken and the prospects for settlement at any juncture of the litigation. We know how to avoid unnecessary and costly appeals and take a "big-picture" approach to serving our clients.
We assist our entrepreneurial clients in the gaming industry to develop and implement creative strategies to help accomplish their corporate finance and acquisition objectives. Our attorneys also advise public companies of all sizes regarding compliance with ongoing reporting obligations under securities laws and other regulated areas. We are prominent members of various regional venture capital and technology organizations, and have closed major transactions in a variety of industries—communications, software, supply chain and process management, premises and system security, financial services and franchise.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable about intellectual property issues relating to all aspects of gaming, including patents for various games, gaming hardware, security systems and other gaming processes, as well as trademarks and copyright issues. Duane Morris is recognized as one of the leading IP groups in the United States. National publications such as U.S. News and World Report, Intellectual Property Today and IP Law360 have all ranked Duane Morris among the leading law firms handling patents, trademarks, copyrights and related IP litigation.
Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration
Our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group offers the full suite of integrated services required by management in the workplace. Our employment and labor lawyers focus on problem prevention and proactive counseling, helping clients comply with federal, state and local laws that affect employee relations—with the goal of meeting clients' operational needs and reducing the risk of costly litigation. When internal complaints arise, we assist clients with confidential internal investigations. We also draft and negotiate employment-related agreements, such as executive contracts, noncompete agreements, confidentiality agreements and separation agreements. If employment-related claims are filed, we handle the defense of the employment litigation in court. Our lawyers also have decades of experience assisting employers in responding to union organizing efforts and regularly defend employers against unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board. In cases where a union is already present, our lawyers represent clients with the grievance procedures, handling collective bargaining negotiations and representing management's interests in labor arbitration proceedings.
Our employee benefits lawyers operate as in-house counsel for many of our clients. In addition to providing proactive advice regarding their benefit plans, our attorneys often assist with the management of outside employee benefits consultants (i.e., actuaries, health and welfare/insurance consultants and compensation consultants). We coordinate the work between the consultants and Duane Morris to ensure nonduplication and efficiency. We also coordinate the delivery of the completed work product so that our clients can review a complete answer from all of their service providers at one time. The Duane Morris Employee Benefits Group routinely provides proactive advice to clients regarding their benefit plans. We not only alert our clients of potential legal issues to be addressed, but we offer to provide guidance at various levels of involvement on behalf of Duane Morris.
Immigration is an increasingly complex area where our national team helps employers navigate the legal, political and business context in which immigration and naturalization concerns arise. We offer advisory services in the areas of work authorization and immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services, from the routine to the complicated. We also provide the unique capability of handling litigation for particularly complex, challenging and sensitive matters involving removability, naturalization, asylum, adjustment of status, and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Our immigration attorneys have a reputation for responsiveness and efficiency, as well as a thorough understanding of immigration law and knowledge of bureaucratic intricacies, frequently dealing with decision makers at the Department of Homeland Security and Departments of State and Labor.
Finally, our highly regarded Duane Morris Institute provides a wide range of training in the area of human resources throughout the United States at our firm's offices, at client work sites and through webinars available online. Programs focus on employment, benefits and immigration issues facing HR professionals, benefits administrators, in-house counsel and other senior managers.