Last week the Business Law Section held its Annual Meeting in Chicago where the Gaming Law Committee presented two great panels on matters of current interest. Chaired by Committee leaders, the panels provided audience members with valuable information and examples on the current and future legal trends affecting the industry and advice on best practices for attorneys representing clients entering the online marketplace.
Why Your Corporate Clients' Mundane Online Presence May Trigger Several Not So Mundane Consequences.
Co- Sponsoring Committees: Cyberspace and Intellectual Property
On Friday morning, September 18th, the Gaming Committee's presented back to back programs. The day kicked off with the panel entitled, Why Your Corporate Clients' Mundane Online Presence May Trigger Several Not So Mundane Consequences.
Aptly led by Glenn Light of Lewis Rocca Rothgerber, the panel opened with the experience-based insights of Brandon Huffman of Hutchinson PLLC based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Brandon provided an abbreviated, yet informative dissertation on the "best practices" for attorneys advising online clients and the essential elements, and common mistakes, of client web pages.
John Krieger of Dickinson Wright in Las Vegas, Nevada, spoke next. John began his presentation with a tutorial on the ABC's of intellectual property and its essential terminology. He continued with advice on how to identify, and avoid, IP infringements, all providing helpful real-life examples and case law for attorneys to use as reference.
Next to speak was Marcos Vieyra, the Chief Information Security Officer for the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Carlos introduced the term "cyber-hygiene" to the audience, and explained how both businesses and individuals, regardless of their size and significance, are vulnerable to online "parasites." Taking it further, Marcos explained how, innocent security oversights can lead to significant problems for major operators and even individuals entering into the online "ecosystem."
Karl Rutledge, the program's co-sponsor and creator, closed out the panel with another informative presentation. He provided the audience with the definition of gambling, discussing each element to ensure a comprehensive understanding. Next, he explained the different definitions of gambling at the state level and how knowing these differing standards is essential to effective advocacy. He then touched on permissive skill based activities, before closing with how to advise clients conducting online sweepstakes, a discussion in which he emphasized the importance of ensuring "equal dignity" to clients offering alternative methods of entry (AMOE) as way of escaping consideration.
(L to R: Marcos Vieyra, John Krieger, Brandon Huffman, Glenn Light, and Karl Rutledge.
Managing and Navigating Legal Challenges for Online Gaming and Credit Card Transactions.
Co-Sponsoring Committees: Business & Corporate Litigation; Commercial Finance; Consumer Financial Services; and Corporate Compliance.
Next was the Committee program entitled, Managing and Navigating Legal Challenges for Online Gaming and Credit Card Transactions. Led by the program's co-chair, Kathryn Rand, Dean of University of North Dakota School of Law, this panel of gaming experts on Internet-based gambling discussed recent legal developments, fantasy contests, sports betting, credit card related transactional issues, and the current trends and future of online gambling.
Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier of Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Arizona opened by discussing the importance of crafting a quality legal opinions. In reviewing her expert approach to creating these essential documents Heidi emphasized the need for attorneys to know the terms of all underlying contracts, an intimate knowledge of the facts, a step by step analysis of the issue(s) at hand, and a detailed study of pertinent state and federal laws.
Following Heidi was Joseph Kelly, Professor at SUNY Buffalo in Buffalo, New York. Joe brought the audience through the history of the federal laws concerning online gaming along with an update on recent legislative efforts. Among several subjects, his expert presentation touched on fantasy gaming and whether or not weekly or daily versions of such contests was contemplated by the "carve-out" language within the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the challenges facing Indian tribes looking to enter the online market.
William ("Bill") Bogot of Fox Rothschild in Chicago, Illinois spoke next and, true to the panel's topic, he focused on the past and remaining obstacles facing credit card companies in processing online transactions associated with lawful gambling activities. Bill cited to New Jersey's online gaming market to show recent improvements in processing online transactions, citing specifically to the introduction of a merchant category code designated specifically for lawful online gaming operators.
Closing out this exciting and informative panel was industry clean-up hitter Carl Sottosanti, of Penn National Gaming. Citing Penn's growing national presence and diversity of offerings, Carl pointed out that today's successful companies will explore offerings that keep pace with the industry's changing demographic. He cited Penn's involvement in Illinois' Video Gaming Technology ("VGT") market and the company's move into social gaming partnering with Scientific Games, as examples of Penn's efforts to remain competitive in today's evolving gaming market.
Note: The online legal publication Law360 wrote an article covering the above panel. The link to the accessing the publication and article can be accessed here.
(L to R: Joseph M. Kelly, Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, William Bogot, Carl Sottosanti, and Kathryn Rand)
Note: If you weren't able to attend the Annual Meeting you can access the written materials and audio recordings of the Committee's programs via the below link.