Areas of Practice
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- J.D., University of Southern California, 1972
- B.S., Finance, Cum Laude, University of Southern California, 1968
A.J. “Bud” Hicks is Senior Counsel at McDonald Carano and has been serving as Chair of the Gaming & Administrative Law Practice for more than 40 years.
Mr. Hicks is one of Nevada’s most experienced gaming law practitioners and has received the distinguished Senior Statesman recognition in Gaming & Licensing from Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Clients describe Mr. Hicks to Chambers researchers as “He’s very knowledgeable about everything; he’s the be all and end all of gaming law.” “He is well known for his longstanding practice in the gaming space.” “Bud is an incredible Lawyer.”
Throughout his career, he has focused his practice in the areas of gaming law and related corporate, litigation, and transactional matters, representing many premier national and international resort gaming operators and gaming equipment suppliers, as well as Nevada’s largest Native American gaming operation.
Due to his significant experience in the gaming industry, Mr. Hicks has been called upon to serve as an expert witness on gaming law matters, published numerous articles on gaming issues, and testified before the U.S. Congress and the Nevada State Legislature on gaming matters. He served as Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Nevada on gaming matters and as counsel to the Nevada Gaming Commission in a landmark case that upheld the constitutionality of Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure and that helped rid Las Vegas’ gaming industry of the last vestiges of organized crime.
Mr. Hicks also assisted the Nevada Gaming Control Board on numerous investigatory matters, assisted the Nevada gaming authorities in establishing procedures for dealing with the entry of publicly traded companies into the Nevada gaming industry, and represented the Nevada gaming authorities before the Nevada legislature on gaming matters for multiple legislative sessions. As a result of his extensive regulatory experience, he often assists his clients on compliance matters and other sensitive licensing and regulatory issues.
Mr. Hicks has more than four decades of experience handling matters relating to the gaming industry as it has expanded and grown throughout the United States and internationally. He has represented many individuals and entities proposing to enter into or expand within the gaming industry in Nevada and other jurisdictions, including representing publicly traded gaming companies and their controlling persons as well as many privately owned gaming establishments and their owners on gaming matters. He has also represented major investment banks and commercial lenders dealing with gaming operators, including lenders and other interested parties in creditor proceedings and financial restructurings of licensed gaming companies; assisted gaming clients on major transactions; and worked on complex gaming licensing matters for private and public companies that provide services or systems to gaming businesses or are manufacturers or distributors of gaming devices, products or equipment to the gaming industry, as well as high net worth individuals involved in the gaming industry throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Mr. Hicks has also served as the gaming law-knowledgeable Independent Member of the Gaming Compliance Committees for numerous gaming companies over the years, including serving as Chairman of the Gaming Compliance Committee of one of the largest U.S. regional gaming operators and currently serving the Chairman and gaming law-knowledgeable Independent Member of the Gaming Compliance Committee of one of the world’s largest gaming operators. Mr. Hicks’ prominent and influential involvement in compliance began while serving as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Nevada, a position which included serving as counsel for the Nevada Gaming Commission where he worked on the first Internal Reporting System and Compliance Plan accepted by the NGC. That pioneering Plan became the model for all the Gaming Compliance Plans that followed.
Mr. Hicks is a published author of fictionalized works inspired by real gaming events and characters, including Fortune’s Trail – A Nevada Story and The Count Room.
Mr. Hicks served as the U.S. Presidential Appointee to the Board of Governors of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency between 2017 and 2023. The TRPA is a bi-state agency created by a compact between the States of California and Nevada, then ratified by the U.S. Congress. The TRPA is charged with regional planning, development and redevelopment oversight, regulatory enforcement, and implementation of environmental protection and restoration programs for the Lake Tahoe region. Please click here to read Law360’s September 2021 feature story about Mr. Hicks’ involvement in TRPA and the organization’s prominent role in establishing new rules and regulations that were instrumental in fighting the dangerous and devastating Caldor Fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Awards and Recognition
- Martindale-Hubbell – AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating (since 1984)
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – “Senior Statesman” in Gaming & Licensing Law (2004-2023)
- The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2005-2024), Administrative and Regulatory Law (2021-2024), Business Organizations (2020-2024)
- The Best Lawyers in America – “Lawyer of the Year” in Gaming Law (2012, 2018, 2021, 2024)
- Mountain States Super Lawyers Magazine – Super Lawyer (2007-2023)
- Nevada Business Magazine – “Legal Elite/Top Rank Attorneys” (2012)
- U.S. Presidential Appointee, Board of Governors of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (2017-2023)
- Member, Gaming Law Advisory Board, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (current)
- Member, Counselors of International Association of Gaming Advisors (1986-present)
- Founding Trustee, Past President and Member, International Association of Gaming Advisors (1980-present)
- Founding Chairman, Nevada Bar Association Gaming Law Section
- Past President, American Bar Association Gaming Law Committee
- Member, California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission (2007-09)
- Honorary Firefighter, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District (2008)
- Board Member & President, Glenbrook Homeowners Association Lake Tahoe (1999-2014)
- Member, Nevada Sesquicentennial Commission (2011-2014)
- Chairman, Nevada 150 Foundation (2012-2018)
Chambers produces the global legal profession’s most respected and comprehensive rankings of lawyers and practice areas. Chambers researched law firms with offices in Nevada for inclusion in the 2023 edition…
In 2024, McDonald Carano celebrated our seventh “Lawyer of the Year” award in Gaming Law from The Best Lawyers in America. A.J. “Bud” Hicks received the award in 2024, 2021,…
McDonald Carano congratulates Bud Hicks on receiving his fourth “Lawyer of the Year” award in Gaming Law from The Best Lawyers in America® for the greater Reno region. Bud received his…
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