Celebrating 75 Years of Serving Nevada’s Legal, Business, Government, and Civic Communities

Gaming & Administrative Law

The Global Gaming Industry’s Premier Nevada-Based Law Firm

Since our founding in Reno in 1949, McDonald Carano’s Nevada roots have created the global gaming industry’s most established and most experienced gaming law firm. With 75 years of expertise, we have served clients from around the world in all gaming industry matters relating to the regulatory environment, licensing, compliance, enforcement, and investigations. From offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Carson City, we have represented nearly every participant in the land-based business, from casinos to restricted gaming licensees, as well as a vast range of businesses involved in online and mobile gaming. As prior gaming regulators in Nevada, our attorneys have unique insights and continue to influence the ongoing development of Nevada’s gaming laws and regulations which also serve as models throughout the world.

Comprehensive Gaming Industry Clients

Our Nevada, U.S., and international gaming law clients include owners and operators of casinos, pari-mutuel wagering facilities, hotels and resorts, restricted gaming licensees, online gaming, mobile gaming, social gaming, manufacturers and distributors of gaming equipment, providers of gaming software and other technologies, sports betting, sports-book operators, eSports entities, travel centers, skill-based gaming, lotteries, sweepstakes, promotions, and fantasy sports. We also assist vendors that provide goods and services to casinos as well as technology providers for internet and mobile gaming and sports wagering operators. Our comprehensive client base also includes Native American tribes, executives and key employees, private equity firms, investors, banks, and non-traditional lenders.

Unique Gaming Regulator Experience

Our gaming law attorneys have served in a variety of gaming regulator roles prior to joining McDonald Carano. We provide gaming clients with the relationships, reputation, and insights on how to get things done inside gaming regulatory agencies. We provide clients with unmatched practical expertise on the inner workings of gaming regulatory and oversight agencies.

  • Alvin J. “Bud” Hicks – Prior to becoming a private practice gaming attorney, Mr. Hicks served as Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Nevada on gaming matters and served as counsel to the Nevada Gaming Commission in a landmark case that upheld the constitutionality of Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure.
  • A.G. Burnett – Prior to becoming a private practice gaming attorney, Mr. Burnett served as Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, a member of the Governor of Nevada’s Gaming Policy Committee, Deputy Chief of the NGCB’s Corporate Securities Division, and Senior Deputy Nevada Attorney General representing the NGCB, the Nevada Gaming Commission, and the Nevada Commission on Sports. 
  • Greg Giordano – Prior to becoming a private practice gaming attorney, Mr. Giordano served as a Deputy Nevada Attorney General representing the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission, and then served as the Chief of the Corporate Securities Division of the NGCB.
  • Dennis Gutwald – Prior to becoming a private practice gaming attorney, Mr. Gutwald spent seven years as a Nevada Gaming Control Board Investigative Agent.

Prestigious Rankings of our Gaming Law Practice

Our Gaming Law Practice and Gaming Law Attorneys are highly ranked in numerous state, national, and international publications that evaluate legal profession expertise through independent research, confidential client interviews, and peer-review surveys. For example:

  • We received our seventh gaming law “Lawyer of the Year” award in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and all our Gaming Law attorneys in Las Vegas and Reno are recognized in Best Lawyers®.
  • Our Gaming Law practice is ranked in the highest Tier 1 category in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms®.
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business ranks four of our Gaming Law attorneys in the Senior Statesman, Band 1, Band 2, and Band 3 categories. The Gaming Law practice is ranked Band 2 in both the Nevada and USA/Nationwide categories. Clients shared the following comments about our Gaming Law Practice  with researchers at Chambers – “The firm contains really experienced gaming attorneys.” “One of McDonald Carano’s strengths is the experience of their lawyers.” “The group is extremely professional and knowledgeable.” “McDonald Carano provides great service and we would not achieve results without them.”

Below are recent accolades our attorneys have received. 

  • Bud Hicks – (1) Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – “Senior Statespeople” in Gaming & Licensing Law (2004-2023); (2) The Best Lawyers in America – “Lawyer of the Year” in Gaming Law (2012, 2018, 2021, 2024); (3) The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2005-2024); (4) The Best Lawyers in America – Administrative & Regulatory Law (2021-2024); and (5) The Best Lawyers in America – Business Organizations (2020-2024).
  • A.G. Burnett – (1) Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 1 in Gaming & Licensing Law/Nevada (only Band 1 ranked gaming law attorney in Nevada) and Band 2 in Gaming & Licensing Law/US-Nationwide (2021-2023); (2) The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2020-2024) and Administrative & Regulatory Law (2022-2024); (3) The Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” in Gaming Law (2020, 2023); (4) Nevada Business Magazine – “Legal Elite/Top Rank Attorneys” (2023); and (5) Business Today – Top 10 Influential Nevada Gaming & Licensing Lawyers (2023).
  • Greg Giordano – (1) Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 2 in Gaming & Licensing Law/Nevada and Band 3 in Gaming & Licensing Law/U.S-Nationwide (2004-2023); (2) Business Today – Top 10 Influential Nevada Gaming & Licensing Lawyers (2023); (3) The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2005-2024); (4) The Best Lawyers in America – Administrative & Regulatory Law (2024); and (5) Vegas Inc – “Top Lawyers” in Gaming Law (2022, 2023).
  • Dennis Gutwald – (1) Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 3 in Gaming & Licensing Law/Nevada (2022-2023); (2) Business Today – Top 10 Influential Nevada Gaming & Licensing Lawyers (2023); (3) The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2020-2024); (4) The Best Lawyers in America – Administrative & Regulatory Law (2022-2024); (5) The Best Lawyers in America – Cannabis Law (2024); and (6) Vegas Inc – “Top Lawyers” in Gaming Law (2020, 2022, 2023).
  • Kelci Binau – (1) The Best Lawyers in America – Gaming Law (2024); (2) The Best Lawyers in America – Administrative & Regulatory Law (2022-2024); (3) CDC Gaming Reports – Ten Emerging Women Under 40 in the Gaming Industry (2023); and (4) Nevada Women’s Fund – Women of Achievement Honoree (2023).

Comprehensive Scope of Gaming Law Services

We provide licensing, compliance, transactional, litigation, legislative, regulatory, and government affairs counsel to businesses involved in the gaming industry. McDonald Carano attorneys provide representation to gaming clients in all stages of development, acquisition, and operation, including site location and planning, real estate and land use permitting and zoning, acquisition of interests in existing gaming companies, financings and re-financings, institutional investor investments, construction and expansion of casino properties, and all related gaming licensing and regulatory compliance and enforcement matters.

McDonald Carano gaming lawyers also advise and serve on compliance committees of gaming industry participants to assist with regulatory compliance, reporting requirements, compliance audits, and internal investigations. Our gaming lawyers design practical solutions to address issues and prepare disclosures that satisfy regulatory requirements. Our attorneys currently serve as Nevada Compliance Counsel, Special Compliance Counsel, Independent Member Compliance Counsel and/or Chairman of the Gaming Compliance Committees of many of the most prominent gaming businesses headquartered around the world.

Findings of Suitability and Approvals for Gaming Licenses

Participants in Nevada’s gaming industry need a gaming license approval from the state regulatory authority that issues findings of suitability after conducting thorough background investigations. McDonald Carano’s gaming lawyers help clients obtain and maintain these vital licenses and approvals, guiding clients from the initial application to the investigation and interview process, through the public hearing on the finding of suitability and issuance of a license or approval, and in the ongoing obligation to update regulators. Our gaming lawyers also assist clients with the creation, ongoing review, and implementation of a required corporate Compliance Plan. 

We are experienced in working with clients that have existing, new, pending and/or future target market licensing and approval considerations in Nevada, multiple U.S. jurisdictions, and other countries around the world. McDonald Carano gaming lawyers are especially adept at serving as lead coordinating and oversight counsel for the selection, direction, and management of multiple local counsel firms in numerous jurisdictions as well as the establishment and implementation of policies, procedures and protocols for centralized document and other information systems required to ensure the smooth, efficient, and timely application submission and follow-up process.

We routinely work with the gaming commissions, state gaming control boards, and local gaming licensing and regulatory authorities across the United States. Not only do we advise gaming clients, but we also provide guidance to regulatory and other gaming oversight agencies on meeting and drafting regulatory standards.

Restricted Gaming Licensing Lawyers

In addition to serving as counsel to many of the largest, most successful and most well-known  casino businesses on the global stage, McDonald Carano also serves a major multi-million dollar specialty segment of the Nevada gaming industry called the “restricted gaming license” market which permits the operation of a limited number of slot machines in establishments where the operation of such slot machines is incidental to the primary purpose of the business. This large market segment includes licensees, owners, operators, and managers of restricted gaming license establishments, such as bars/restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, drug stores, liquor stores, and auto/truck plazas. In this specialty market, McDonald Carano has long represented one of Nevada’s largest slot route operators and convenience-store operators with hundreds of locations throughout the state.

Our Leadership Shaping the Global Gaming Industry 

A.J. “Bud” Hicks co-founded the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) in 1980 in Nevada when it was known as the National Association of Gaming Attorneys and he continues to serve as an appointed member of IAGA Counselors. Bud’s more than 40 years of service to IAGA has also included serving as a President and Trustee. A.G. Burnett is also a member of IAGA and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Regulator Relations Committee, and Chair of the Governance Committee. Additional members of IAGA include Kelci Binau and Greg Giordano who served as a member of the Board of Trustees. Greg Giordano and A.G. Burnett are also members of International Masters of Gaming Law. A.G. received the “Outstanding Achievement Award for the Americas” from IMGL in 2018 and Greg served as Chair of the 2023 IMGL Spring Conference Program Committee.

Our local leadership in the Nevada gaming industry includes Greg Giordano currently serving as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the Gaming Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada and a member of the Gaming Law Advisory Board of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law.  He also serves as Chief Editor and Author of the Nevada Gaming Law Practice and Procedure Manual, Co-Editor of Nevada Gaming Lawyer, and a member of the Editorial Board Advisory Committee for the UNLV Gaming Law Journal. Additional local leadership includes Kelci Binau who will become Secretary and General Counsel for Global Gaming Women in January 2024. Kelci’s leadership in Global Gaming Women includes currently serving as a Moderator of a professional mentorship and career development Lean-In Circle and the Communications and Content Liaison for the Marketing Committee.

Practice Area News

Kelci Binau Serves as General Counsel of Global Gaming Women

About GGW: Click here for information about Global Gaming Women and its Board of Directors. McDonald Carano proudly announces that Kelci Binau has been selected to serve as General Counsel…

Best Lawyers in America Recognized 12 Women Lawyers from 9 Practice Groups

McDonald Carano proudly announces that 12 women lawyers from nine Practice Groups in our Reno and Las Vegas offices have been recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers in…

McDonald Carano Receives Highest Number of Rankings in Chambers 2023

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…

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