Gaming & Administrative Law

The Global Gaming Industry’s Premier Nevada Gaming and Casino 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 casino and gaming law firm. With more than 70 years of expertise, we have handled all matters relating to Nevada’s gaming laws, licensing, regulations, compliance, enforcement, and investigations. We have represented nearly every participant in the land-based casino business as well as the online and mobile gaming industry. And our attorneys have influenced the ongoing development and formulation of Nevada’s gaming laws and regulations. 

Our Nevada, U.S., and international gaming law clients include owners and operators of casinos, pari-mutuel wagering facilities, hotels and resorts, restricted gaming license entities, online gaming, and mobile gaming, manufacturers and distributors of gaming equipment and software, sports-book operators, eSports entities, travel centers, skill-based gaming, lotteries, sweepstakes, 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.

Reputation and Ranking of our Casino and Gaming Law Practice

In 1980, A.J. “Bud” Hicks co-founded the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) 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. Our involvement in IAGA also currently includes A.G. Burnett, serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees and a member of the Regulator Relations Committee. Our leadership in the Nevada gaming law industry gaming law profession includes Greg Giordano currently serving as Vice Chairman of both the Executive Committee of the Gaming Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada and the Gaming Law Committee of the ABA’s Business Law Section. Gaming Law attorney Kelci Binau is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and Global Gaming Women. For GGW, Kelci serves as a Lean-In Circle Moderator and the Communications & Content Liaison for the Marketing Committee.

Our gaming and casino law firm is ranked in the highest Tier 1 category in Reno and Las Vegas in “The Best Law Firms in America” report published by U.S. News–Best Lawyers. As the report explains, “achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. Firms that receive the Tier 1 designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers and clients from the same communities and practice areas.”

The Gaming Law Practice is also highly ranked in the prestigious Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. During the Chambers research process, clients shared the following comments about our Nevada gaming law group – McDonald Carano’s gaming and casino lawyers are “very thoughtful and to the point” and have “valuable perspective on the practical realities of how investigations work and how to guide clients through the process.” “They do good work and always have the right experts available.” McDonald Carano’s gaming and casino lawyershave a great network within the gaming regulatory community, and uniquely understand how the regulators think about things.” “They have a strong understanding of the law and the execution required to deliver compelling results.”

Findings of Suitability and Approvals for Gaming Licensing

Participants in Nevada’s gaming industry need a Nevada gaming license approval from the state or tribal gaming regulatory authority along with a corporate compliance committee that issues findings of suitability after conducting thorough background investigations. McDonald Carano Nevada 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.

We are particularly experienced in working with clients that have existing, new, pending and/or future target market licensing and approval considerations in multiple U.S. jurisdictions as well as in other countries around the world. McDonald Carano gaming and casino 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 federal agencies on meeting and drafting regulatory standards.

Gaming and Casino Lawyers

We regularly provide commercial, transactional, litigation, legislative, regulatory, and government affairs counsel to regulated gaming and casino companies. McDonald Carano attorneys provide representation to gaming and casino 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.

Restricted Gaming Licensing Lawyers

In addition to serving as counsel to the largest, most successful and most familiar casino and gaming businesses on the global stage, McDonald Carano also serves a major multi-million dollar specialty segment of the 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 that service hundreds of locations throughout the state.

Prior In-House Gaming and Casino Lawyers

Gaming and casino clients need outside counsel that knows how to get things done inside gaming regulatory agencies. Our gaming law attorneys provide clients with unmatched and unique practical insight into 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 (“NGC”) 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 (“NGCB”), 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. 
  • P. Gregory Giordano – Prior to becoming a private practice gaming attorney, Mr. Giordano served as a Deputy Nevada Attorney General representing the Nevada Gaming Control Board (“NGCB”) and Nevada Gaming Commission (“NGC”), 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.

Serving on Clients’ Compliance Committees

McDonald Carano gaming lawyers advise and serve on compliance committees of gaming and casino industry participants to assist with regulatory compliance and reporting requirements, compliance audits and internal investigations. Our gaming and casino lawyers design practical solutions to address issues and prepare disclosures that satisfy legal 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 and casino businesses headquartered around the world.

McDonald Carano Gaming & Casino Lawyers Representative Experience

  • Served as Special Nevada Gaming Counsel for Hard Rock International’s $1.075 acquisition of The Mirage Hotel and Casino, providing the complete range of legal services required to assure compliance with Nevada gaming law licensing and regulatory approval procedures.
  • Representing a large publicly traded gaming company in the acquisition of eight casino operations in six different states, including all relevant gambling and related business licensing matters as well as ongoing Nevada gaming regulations and compliance issues.
  • Providing strategic guidance to an industry organization regarding the legalization and regulation of gaming and sports betting around the country.
  • Acting for the largest publicly traded operator of truck plazas along major state highways in America in the acquisition and licensing of auto/truck plaza casino operations located on interstate highways.
  • Representing a publicly traded international company that develops, manufactures, and sells gaming machines in connection with gaming regulatory compliance and reporting requirements.
  • Regularly representing all the executives of a publicly traded company in connection with the handling of their findings of suitability/licensing applications and hearings.
  • Representing an institutional investor as its outside gaming law counsel, handling on a national basis all of its gaming regulatory filings in connection with its investments in the stocks of various publicly traded companies involved in the gaming industry in the United States.
  • Assisting a large gaming device manufacturer in obtaining gaming manufacturers’ and distributors’ licenses.
  • Advised a sports book and resort casino operator regarding the regulatory requirements and approvals required to integrate their operations nationally.
  • Helped a tribe evaluate and determine ownership structure alternatives for the acquisition of various casino resorts.
  • Advised a major foreign gaming operator in assessing regulatory and approval requirements for the acquisition of an international gaming company.
  • Led the work for a prominent privately-owned gaming company in its one billion plus U.S. dollars merger with a publicly traded gaming company, providing strategic legal and commercial counsel on complex gaming licensing procedures in five different states as they relate to casino, lottery, horse racing, liquor, and general business licenses.
  • Represented a major publicly traded gaming company in a one billion U.S. dollar refinancing, including advising on all aspects of obtaining the relevant approvals required to facilitate the deal from the various gaming regulatory authorities.
  • Represented a large publicly traded gaming company in the acquisition of two hotel-casino resorts, including handling all relevant gaming and related business licensing matters linked to the acquisitions.
  • Represented a leading hotel-casino resort in an investigation into a range of regulatory compliance issues. Advising the client on the implementation of remedies and a compliance program to safeguard against future issues on the regulatory side.

Practice Area News

Best Lawyers in America Recognized 10 Women Lawyers from 8 Practice Groups

McDonald Carano proudly announces that 10 women lawyers from eight Practice Groups in our Reno and Las Vegas offices have been recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America….

Las Vegas Office Receives 10 Tier 1 Practice Group Rankings in “Best Law Firms” 2023

McDonald Carano proudly announces that 10 areas of expertise in our Las Vegas office achieved the highest Tier 1 ranking in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”…

A.G. Burnett Interviewed on Nevada Newsmakers: Gaming Industry Q&A

A.G. Burnett, a Partner in our Gaming Law Practice and a former Chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), shared his insights and perspectives on a variety of gaming…

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