The times are a changin’ – Louisiana creates the Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force

New Orleans, LA USA - April 20, 2016: The Mississippi River with departing paddle boat viewed from the French quarter.

This summer, a concurrent resolution that creates a Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force (“Task Force”) was adopted during the regular session of the Louisiana State Legislature. The Task Force, to be chaired by Ronnie Jones, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, is charged with (1) studying current law and existing rules and regulations regarding riverboat gaming, (2) receiving public input relative to same, and (3) presenting a written report to the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice and the Senate Committee on Judiciary B no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of the 2018 Regular Session. The report is to make recommendations that include, but are not limited to, changes in current law, rules and regulations; (1) to further generate and promote increased economic development by riverboat gaming licensees, (2) to provide for greater safety for patrons and employees of riverboat casinos, (3) to encourage increased capital reinvestment by riverboat gaming licensees, (4) to improve and enhance the regulation of riverboat gaming licensees, and (5) to make Louisiana riverboat casinos more competitive with gaming enterprises in nearby jurisdictions. Continue Reading

Lyle Berman: Retailer, Gambler, and Hall of Famer

Hall of Fame chiselled and inscribed in a monument and statue of rock

In 1992, I got a phone call from Tony Cabot, a gaming attorney in Las Vegas. Tony asked me a question that would change my life.  “Would you like to represent Grand Casinos?” he said. I responded “yes”.

For the next sixteen years, until the company was merged with Park Place Entertainment Corporation in 1998, we were Grand Casinos’ Mississippi attorneys. Who in 1992 could have imagined what an amazing ride I was about to take?

Grand’s spiritual and corporate leader was Lyle Berman, a man who grew up in the retail business, was a champion poker player and decided he could take the Mississippi gaming industry to the next level. And, boy did he.

With Lyle’s incredible vision for what Mississippi gaming could be, Grand borrowed $115 million Continue Reading

Has New Jersey armed the first forfeiture warhead to be used against Fantasy Sports operators?

New Jersey Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

A recent appellate court opinion from New Jersey could serve as the basis for civil and criminal proceedings against fantasy sports operations. The case styled New Jersey v. Amboy National Bank, 2016 WL 4488162, was handed down on August 26, and involved the civil forfeiture of accumulated funds in a bank account on deposit for use in conjunction with sports “survivor” pools. While the rules of the actual contest were not discussed in the published opinion, a typical survivor pool proceeds as follows:

  • A player deposits funds at the beginning of a series of sports contests.
  • Each pool member chooses one team each week.
  • Picks typically are made “straight up”, not using a point spread system.
  • If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week.
  • An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season.
  • The goal is to be the last member standing at the end of the season.
  • Funds are distributed based on player standings at the end of the season.

The survivor pools in this case involved football, baseball, golf, and basketball. The State of New Jersey took the position that this activity Continue Reading