Game On: What You Need to Know About Operating a Business in the Gaming Industry

Gambling has a long history in the United States and throughout the world. For thousands of years, gambling has had its zealous advocates and detractors. In the United States, opponents of gambling cite concerns about increased crime, violations of religious beliefs, regressive taxation, and addiction. Despite this often fanatical opposition, some form of gambling is legal in every state in the U.S. save two (Hawaii and Utah). If you are thinking about starting or operating a business in the gaming industry, here are some things to keep in mind.

1) The industry is heavily regulated.

The effect of opposition to gaming has been to heavily restrict and regulate it. There are some states where the only legal form of gambling is the lottery (South Carolina, Tennessee). At the other end of the spectrum is Nevada, where you can find slot machines in gas stations and the airports. Even in states where multiple forms of gambling are legal, there are numerous regulations that sometimes vary from county to county. It is imperative to have well-informed legal counsel who are familiar with the various regulations at the local, state and federal level.

2) It’s beginning to loosen up.

The movement toward legalizing online gambling continues to slowly progress on a state by state basis. New Jersey remains in the lead by offering the widest range of online gambling options. Delaware and Nevada also offer certain forms of online gambling, and a handful of other states are considering iGaming legislation. New Jersey is also challenging Nevada’s hegemony of sports-betting by virtue of a grandfathered monopoly courtesy of federal statute. On the other hand, efforts to legalize online gambling have so far failed in Congress, mainly due to opposition from short-sighted land-based casino owners.

3) There is risk involved.

Chances are if you are attracted to gambling as a business, you understand risk and reward calculations. Getting any business up and running is no safe bet and so it must be acknowledged that the very act of starting any type of business is a gamble. Gaming businesses can significantly raise their odds of success, however, by having skilled legal counsel involved from the beginning to advise on how to navigate the complicated regulatory framework.

4) Know your market.

If your market area takes a more progressive approach to gaming, this will certain make your endeavour easier. In other words, you’ll have better luck getting something started in New Jersey (or even a non-US jurisdiction) than in Utah. But even then, it is important to know what kind of gaming would be most successful. Given the current state of the market, starting a business that supports or provides content to existing online gaming license holders is an intriguing opportunity.

5) It’s not impossible.

While gaming is heavily regulated, it is also alive and in some cases, thriving. So, remember that while it is difficult to get a gaming operation started, it is by no means impossible.

With a business that is so heavily regulated, you are almost guaranteed to have a much more difficult time getting off the ground if you don’t have a very knowledgeable gaming attorney on your side from the start. Gaming law is one of my primary focuses, which means I can help you at every step of the way. Contact our office today to get started.  

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