A. J. "Bud" Hicks

Senior Counsel

Areas of Practice
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Southern California, 1972
  • B.S., Finance, Cum Laude, University of Southern California, 1968
Areas of Practice
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Southern California, 1972
  • B.S., Finance, Cum Laude, University of Southern California, 1968

Professional Background

Professional Background

A.J. “Bud” Hicks is Senior Counsel at McDonald Carano and has been serving as Chair of the Gaming and Administrative Law Practice for more than 40 years.

He’s very knowledgeable about everything; he’s the be all and end all of gaming law.”

  – Chambers USA 2021

Mr. Hicks is known as one of Nevada’s most experienced gaming law practitioners, receiving the distinguished Senior Statesman ranking in Gaming & Licensing from Chambers USA.  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 (“NGCB”) 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 48 years 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 system 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 America 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 America’s largest 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 was recently honored to accept a Presidential Appointment to serve as the United States Representative to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 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 profile feature story about Mr. Hicks’ involvement in the 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

  • Chambers USA Guide “Senior Statesman” – Gaming & Licensing Law (2017-2022))
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV PreeminentTM Rating (since 1984)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© – Gaming Law (2005-2022), Administrative and Regulatory Law (2021-2022), Business Organizations (2020-2022)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© “Lawyer of the Year” Gaming Law (2012, 2018, 2021)
  • Super Lawyers Magazine “Mountain States Super Lawyer”– Gaming Law, Business/Corporate (2007-2021)
  • Nevada Business Magazine “Legal Elite” (2012)
  • Member, Counselors of IAGA (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

Community Engagement

  • Presidential Appointee to the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (2018-present)
  • 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, Advisory Board, UNLV Gaming Law Journal, William S. Boyd  School of Law
  • Member, Nevada Sesquicentennial Commission (2011-2014)
  • Chairman, Nevada 150 Foundation (2012-18)
  • Published author of fictionalized works inspired by real gaming events and characters, including Fortune’s Trail – A Nevada Story and The Count Room

Attorney News

McDonald Carano Celebrates
a Record Number of
“Lawyer of the Year” Awards
from Best Lawyers in America

McDonald Carano proudly announces that seven lawyers in our Reno and Las Vegas offices received “Lawyer of the Year” awards in the 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Over…

Bud Hicks: How the Battle
for “Defensible Space” Helped Win
the Battle Against the Caldor Fire

The dangerous and destructive wind-driven Caldor Fire started on August 14, 2021, forced the closure of and crossed Highway 50, required evacuation orders in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and generated…

PDF (Print)

Best Lawyers in America Recognized
Eight Lawyers and Six Specialty Areas of Business Law Expertise

McDonald Carano proudly announces that Best Lawyers in America recognized eight of our Reno and Las Vegas lawyers and six of their specialty areas of business law expertise: (1) Corporate…

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