Are You a Gaming Operator? Here are Five Reasons You Need a Gambling Attorney on Your Side

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states could permit sports betting within their borders. Within six months, New Jersey handled more than $1.2 billion in legal wagers. Some researchers believe that if online betting becomes accessible in all 50 states, it could become a $16 billion industry.

Many entrepreneurs are seeking to get into this burgeoning industry. The options are wide open: online games like poker, betting on sports events, traditional casinos, and riverboat cruises, and making wagers betting on your phone. Economic benefits extend to jobs in ancillary industries like marketing, tourism, and technology.

However, there are risks involved. The state of federal law is uncertain and changing constantly, influenced by politics and profits. State law varies, and the issue of interstate commerce looms large.

If you are a gaming operator, payment processor or tribal entity, you need an experienced gambling attorney to help you navigate this minefield. There are serious consequences to not knowing the law in this area.  

Here are seven reasons why you need a gambling attorney to help you take advantage of these new opportunities.

1. Gaming Law is Evolving Rapidly

The status of gaming law is very unpredictable. Courts and legislatures across the country are pondering new laws and standards. 

Federal and state laws may apply in some cases, in addition to regulations by municipalities. 

Right now, Texas allows social betting on games like bingo and betting on horse races. It does not allow casinos except on tribal land. However, the rules about sports betting may be changing soon.

Texas and its neighbor New Mexico have pending legislation about this issue. Local economies all over want to reap the benefits of tax revenue and increased job opportunities that states like Nevada enjoy.

2. It's Complicated to Apply for Licensing 

Any state that allows gambling has a complex system of regulations to monitor the activity. These rules cover issues like money laundering, criminal activity, and underage or compulsive gambling. 

In some states, if you have a federal criminal record you may be barred from owning a gambling enterprise. Some regulatory agencies scrutinize the financial and criminal records of potential owners and employees, in addition to those of their spouses and family members!

If you are seeking a license to do business with a casino, you need the advice of a gambling attorney. They can protect your rights and privacy while advising on the best way to accomplish your goals. 

3. Sports Betting: Lots of Profit, Lots of Risks? 

The Supreme Court ruled in Murphy v. NCAA last year that the federal law prohibiting sports betting was unconstitutional. States have the right to decide for themselves whether to allow this practice. 

This decision also had a big impact on online gaming generally. Many consumers now like to place sports bets on their mobile devices. Many people who never entered a casino before are now wagering on their phones.

These changes have caused an explosion in the industry. Many gaming operators are making huge profits. However, there may be risks to operators who neglect to work with a gambling attorney. 

If you do not follow the rules, you jeopardize your gambling business. For example, what if you provide electronic or online gambling machines on a tribal-owned casino but your server is based on non-tribal land? You may be violating federal law. 

Violations can result in being banned from getting any kind of gaming license in the future.   

4. What About the Wire Act? 

The Wire Act was passed under President Kennedy to protect against organized crime's hold on illegal gambling. It prohibited the interstate transmission of money from sports betting. In 2011, the Department of Justice issued an opinion that said the Act did not apply to other forms of gambling.

However, last year the Justice Department changed its position. It claimed all forms of gaming were covered by the Wire Act. Opponents claim that this is a political move by powerful forces in the casino industry threatened by the expansion of online gaming. 

Many industries like lotteries, which relied on the earlier Justice Department memo, are now scrambling to change their operations. Other organizations are litigating.

This uncertainty is having a chilling effect on some companies who want to get into the gaming business. They are afraid they will be shut down by the federal government. It is important to confer with an attorney to keep abreast of this evolving situation and remain within the bounds of the law.

5. Partnerships with Domestic and Foreign Entities 

Many consumers used to turn to illegal bookies to make bets. They also used offshore and foreign providers. Now that you can make online bets in the United States, there are many opportunities for American companies to partner with experienced overseas gaming businesses.

It is very expensive to complete a successful license application. You also need a lot of money for start-up costs like marketing, compliance, and technology. It is wise and cost-effective to collaborate with another company when you set up a gaming-related enterprise. 

You may also need to partner with other businesses to get your business off the ground. For example, many credit card companies will not process payments made through betting enterprises. You need to work with a payment processing company. You need someone trustworthy to issue payments to winners and track important data for regulators.

Money laundering and other crimes are common around the cash-heavy business of gambling. You must maintain scrupulous records to stay within the law.  You need an attorney who has worked with gaming companies domestically and abroad to join your team. 

Hire A Gambling Attorney: Make Sure Your Gaming Business is Legit and Hit the Jackpot! 

A gambling attorney will have his or her finger on the pulse of the exciting and changing field of gambling law. They can keep you informed and help you set up and operate a profitable business. It is their job to make sure you stay within the bounds of the law and take advantage of this growing market.

For more information on gaming law, check out our blog.

Jake Steven