Gaming

Gaming clients face issues that call for specialized legal representation in every phase of the gaming process, including the pre-licensing, licensing, and post-licensing phases. Our attorneys have been involved in representing clients such as casino companies, manufacturers and distributors in every area and at every stage of these processes, and are experienced in providing the level of commitment and responsiveness gaming clients require.

We have devoted significant resources to the gaming industry through the formation of a Gaming Group. It includes attorneys with practices in the areas of gaming, licensing and regulatory compliance, lobbying, admiralty/marine, financing, business/corporate, securities, tax, labor, construction, tort defense, and commercial litigation. This group draws upon attorneys from our offices in Louisiana and Mississippi, enabling us to respond to the needs of our clients in the gaming industry.

Gaming Operators
Our attorneys provide representation to gaming clients in every stage of casino development and operation.

Pre-Licensing
The usual gaming project begins as a general concept that a corporation or a number of individuals refines into a concrete plan after considering numerous tax, securities, real estate, and corporate issues. Generally, a proposed gaming project combines the resources of several individuals and/or corporations, who together form an entity to seek a license. Quite commonly, this entity is a joint venture, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a publicly traded company, or a combination. We assist in forming the entity and in putting its business plan in place. Then we work with the entity to secure the proposed casino site and to arrange for project financing. We at Phelps Dunbar use the resources of our numerous practice groups to provide legal assistance in the various corporate, securities, real estate, and tax areas involved in these transactions.

Licensing
Opening a casino requires a gaming license from the state gaming authorities and the approval of as many as thirty other federal, state, and local regulatory authorities. Time is of the essence in securing these approvals to ensure, among other things, efficient use and training of employees by the time the casino opens. We take a hands-on approach, with particular and close attention to details. We emphasize providing complete information to the licensing authorities at the outset of the licensing process. We aid our clients in navigating or walking through the regulatory bureaucracies.

Our attorneys who are involved in the licensing process stay in constant contact with the various regulatory authorities at every juncture. We recognize that delays of only a few days can result in an opening delay of several weeks, and costs/lost profits of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our attorneys are available to our clients, literally, on a twenty-four hour a day basis. Indeed, we encourage our clients to contact us immediately whenever a question arises or when they wish advice. We also provide the same availability to the regulatory authorities to assist them in making their evaluations in a timely and an efficient manner.

As the final step in the application process, we accompany our clients to the licensing hearings before the gaming authorities and the other regulatory bodies. We take these hearings very seriously, and we leave nothing to chance in preparing presentations to support licensure requests.

Post-Licensing
Once a casino opens its doors, we stay abreast of changes in the gaming statutes and regulations. As in the licensing process, our regulatory attorneys are available twenty-four hours a day to provide counsel concerning the inevitable questions that arise to our clients in operating casinos.

In order to inform our clients, we attend every meeting of the Gaming Commissions in Mississippi and Louisiana, and we provide detailed reports of these meetings to our client the same day. We strive to provide our clients with up to the minute information that, in most instances prior to the time it is available to them through the media. Additionally, we monitor all of the other regulatory authorities for decisions and rule changes that may have a profound effect on casino operations. We study and analyze changes in environmental regulations, tax regulations, Attorney Generals' opinions, and proposed legislation affecting the gaming industry. We monitor all legislation concerning gaming issues, and we provide our gaming clients with information concerning the myriad of governmental influences that affect the operations of casinos.

Finally, as part of our post-licensing representation, we stand ready to assist our clients in the operating casinos in all other areas -- such as labor and employment matters, construction disputes, continuous financing tasks, tort and insurance matters, securities transactions, tax matters, marketing and advertising issues, and general commercial matters.

Manufacturers And Distributors
Representing of manufacturers and distributors in regulatory and non-regulatory matters is an important part of our gaming practice. The regulatory representation of manufacturers and distributors includes licensing matters as well as aiding clients in obtaining regulatory approvals of gaming devices and approvals related to shipping these devices. In addition, we represent manufacturers and distributors in connection with non-regulatory issues including contract disputes, collections, tax matters and issues related to perfecting security interests.