Gaming is a high-stakes, multi-billion dollar, worldwide business where regulatory approvals, complex litigation and complex, time sensitive transactions are a way of life. Ungaretti & Harris has a proven record of helping clients achieve their business objectives in all segments of the gaming industry.
Ungaretti & Harris has one of the most highly regarded gaming practices in Illinois. Our gaming attorneys are recognized as among the country’s top practitioners by Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois, and other ranking organizations. U.S. News and World Report, in conjunction with Best Lawyers, has awarded our gaming practice with a Tier 1 ranking—the highest ranking possible, and which it awarded to only two firms in the state.
Helping Gaming Clients Succeed in Illinois
Gaming license holders are subject to complex regulations and strict scrutiny, and they look to us for advocacy before gaming boards and commissions—in particular, the Illinois Gaming Board. From licensing, suitability and compliance issues to administrative and disciplinary hearings, we have the credibility and experience our clients need. Gaming businesses often must interact with Native American governing bodies and they rely on our track record of success in working with tribal leaders and commissions. Additionally, our government practice keeps us current on legislative and administrative developments impacting the industry.
Ungaretti & Harris has helped gaming clients achieve exceptional results in regulatory matters, such as:
- Helping clients to acquire two of Illinois' 10 riverboat casino licenses;
- Securing an Attorney General's opinion enabling a manufacturer to sell electronic gaming
- Winning an injunction against the Illinois Gaming Board from implementing an unconstitutional special legislation provision detrimental to our client;
- Winning another injunction against the Illinois Gaming Board for unconstitutional gaming regulation;
- In a court hearing, winning the reversal of the revocation of a casino manager’s license by the Illinois Gaming Board;
- Successfully representing a corporation seeking a Supplier License under the Illinois Riverboat Gaming Act;
- Winning several Appellate Court verdicts reversing Illinois Gaming Board decisions;
- Helping individuals and corporations seeking license and renewal of license before the Illinois Gaming Board;
- Providing general representation to three of the 10 Illinois licensed casinos;
- Representing Manufacturers and Distributors seeking licensing under the Video Gaming Act;
- Representing Terminal Operators seeking licensing under the Video Gaming Act;
- Advising a Native American tribe on acquisition of interest in a commercial casino entity; and
- Helping a major supplier get licensing approval to transfer Illinois license to new entity.
High stakes litigation is a fact of life for gaming companies and their officers, shareholders, and employees. Ungaretti & Harris attorneys have successfully represented clients in licensing, regulatory and disciplinary hearings and have successfully defended clients in precedent-setting cases at the trial and appellate levels in State and Federal courts. We have ensured the rights of majority shareholders, as well as minority shareholders. Examples of our experience include:
- Achieving a $50 million settlement of a lawsuit counterclaim on behalf of casino managers;
- At trial, winning a $1.75 million verdict for a shareholder excluded from distribution by casino owners;
- Settling a lottery winners' dispute favorably;
- Settling a multimillion dollar construction dispute between a casino and a barge construction company;
- Settling a dispute with a Native American Tribe on behalf of a casino manager.
In addition to commercial disputes, our firm has an outstanding record in representing casino operators in employment and labor issues, including Fair Labor Standards Act violations, sexual harassment, retaliatory discharge or constructive discharge cases.
Corporate and Transactional Experience
Our Corporate/Transactional Practice Group is well equipped to handle and well-versed in handling gaming deals. We have represented clients in complex financings; debt and equity offerings; high yield debt placements; structuring and negotiating capital markets financing; management agreements; and executive compensation agreements. We have negotiated shareholder agreements and formed complex business entities and structures to meet our clients’ needs. We regularly advise gaming clients on the most cost-effective way to settle disputes involving their ongoing operational concerns, such as business entity formation, executive separation agreements, shareholder controversies, supplier contract terms and director fiduciary responsibilities.
Investing in Relationships
Our Gaming Practice attorneys have acted as inside counsel as well as outside counsel, developing an in depth understanding of the operational side of the casino gaming business. The firm has a network of investment bankers, commercial bankers, accountants and consultants whom we frequently call upon for advice and assistance in our engagements. These relationships give us a unique ability to provide services beyond those traditionally delivered by law firms. Our team includes a charter member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and Best Lawyers in America for Gaming. With a combination of practical industry knowledge, respected regulatory experience, sophisticated corporate transaction attorneys and experienced trial attorneys, U&H can provide comprehensive legal representation in the gaming arena.
Our gaming industry clients have included:
- Applicants for gaming licenses
- Gaming companies (three of the country’s 10 largest)
- Gaming Equipment Manufacturers
- Gaming Suppliers
- License holders
- Licensed employees
- Manufacturers of Electronic Gaming Devices
- Native American casino operators
- Officers, Directors, Executives, Shareholders, Minority Investors
- Racetrack owners and operators
- Riverboat casinos
- Native American Tribal Nation