Gaming Rises—and Falls—Sweeten Pot of Opportunities for Lawyers

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And many foreign companies are looking to come to the United States, she said, making cross-border work in the gaming space another opportunity for law firms.

The gaming industry is in a unique spot in that it is both expanding to new markets and seeing many existing markets suffer bankruptcies and casino closures.

The gaming industry is an "exceptionally competitive market," said Duane Morris Cherry Hill, N.J.-based partner Hersh Kozlov. "The margins are narrowing in the gaming industry with the competition. ... There aren't new gamblers coming out with new casinos, so the pie is getting cut."

And sometimes, clients get cut too. Kozlov and his team at Philadelphia-based Duane Morris represented ownership of the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City as it closed its doors earlier this month. The firm has been involved in the recent Philadelphia casino license process as well as many of the recent Atlantic City casino bankruptcies, he said.

Aside from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Duane Morris also does a lot of work through its Baltimore office in Maryland gaming as well as handles matters in Delaware.

Whether it's game development, game theory, casino approval, casino refinancing, game approval or employment law issues, the legal work is varied, Kozlov said.

As some of Atlantic City's marketplace contracts, the New Jersey gaming scene has expanded with the recent approval of Internet gaming. Kozlov said his firm represents the casinos where the servers taking bets have to be housed and has handled contracts with Internet service providers.

Kozlov said it's only a matter of time before other jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania look at Internet gaming.

Cox agreed Internet gaming is something to watch.

"That's sort of a situation where the world is watching to see how that regulatory model works," Cox said. "Internet gaming is only legal in three states in the United States right now. It's a developing story. Even Pennsylvania is watching closely."

Gina Passarella can be contacted at 215-557-2494 or at gpassarella@alm.com. Follow her on Twitter @GPassarellaTLI.

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