Small Business Administration Updates Interim Regulatory Guidelines to Greatly Expand Accessibility of Paycheck Protection Program Loans to Gaming Businesses

On April 24, 2020, the casino industry received some much-needed good news from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically, the SBA issued revised regulatory guidelines for the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that now make PPP loans available to small gaming businesses previously precluded from the program because of restrictions on gambling-based revenue, but otherwise met the eligibility requirements.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Governor Returns Virginia Gambling Legislation with Amendments, Including Tax for COVID-19 Fund

In a  March 17 Alert, we reported that Virginia’s General Assembly had sent Governor Ralph Northam two bills (Senate Bill 36 and House Bill 896), which, if signed, would permit five land-based casinos, online sports betting and up to 2,000 additional historical horse racing machines in the commonwealth. On the April 11 deadline to take action on the bills, Governor Northam returned them, each unsigned, to the Virginia legislature with amendments. While the governor’s proposed changes to the two bills appear minor (for example, they did not change tax rates, minimum capital expenditure requirements or the types of games), a new proposal would further expand gaming in Virginia, at least temporarily, by permitting and taxing skill-based machines in bars, convenience stores and truck stops to raise money for a COVID-19 relief fund.

Update: On April 22, 2020, both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Northam’s amendments to the casino and sports betting bills, thus effectively making both bills Virginia law.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Small Business Administration Updates Interim Regulatory Guidelines to Help Certain Gaming Companies

On April 14, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued revised interim regulatory guidelines for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The revisions provide, in relevant part, that certain companies which derive revenues from legal gaming activities are eligible for PPP loans and are not automatically ineligible as previously thought pursuant to the interim regulatory guidelines released on April 2, 2020, and discussed in our previous Alert.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Interim Regulatory Guidelines Preclude Gaming Businesses from Receiving Support Under the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program

Much of the U.S. casino industry is currently ineligible to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the newly enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). As articulated by Congress, under the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to any small business, nonprofit organization, veterans’ organization, and/or tribal business as long as the business has less than 500 employees. The Paycheck Protection Program is one of several tools to provide much needed support for small businesses and their employees experiencing economic distress caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Massachusetts Sports Wagering Bill Expected to Be Approved by July

From the spate of competing sports betting bills filed since 2019, House Bill 4559 has emerged as the frontrunner and is poised for passage. On March 12, 2020, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies submitted H.4559, as amended, to the House Ways and Means Committee with its recommendation for approval. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has expressly supported the authorization of sports betting, which now is expected to pass during the current legislative session.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Virginia General Assembly Passes Expansive Gambling Legislation

Legalized casino gambling and sports wagering are approaching the finish line in Virginia following the recent passage of two bills by the Virginia General Assembly. Senate Bill 36 and House Bill 896, both awaiting the signature of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, would permit five land-based casinos, online sports betting and up to 2,000 additional historical horse racing machines.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Virginia Legislature Passes Bills to Expand Gambling in the Commonwealth

Legalized casino gambling and sports wagering are approaching the finish line in Virginia following the recent passage of two bills by the Virginia General Assembly. Senate Bill 36 and House Bill 896, both awaiting the signature of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, would permit five land-based casinos, online sports betting and up to 2,000 additional historical horse racing machines.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Poker Or Slots? Games Of Skill And Chance Have Legal Distinctions In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Police seized 414 illegal gaming machines in southwestern Pennsylvania in 2018.

Currently, people can gamble at state-regulated casinos, through the Pennsylvania Lottery, for horse races and, after the expansion of the law last year, online and at some truck stops. But the changes didn’t include gaming machines in bars and restaurants. In those venues, if a game is mostly chance, like a slot machine, it’s illegal. But if it requires skill, like poker, it’s legal.

Frank DiGiacomopartner with the Duane Morris law firm, said the distinction comes from a 2014 court case out of Beaver County.

To read the full text of this article, please visit the WESA 90.5 website.

Dept. of Justice Reconsiders Its View on the Wire Act… So What Happens Now?

On January 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice published a legal opinion that may restrict online gambling. The opinion, dated November 2, 2018, (although only now published) reconsidered the DOJ’s 2011 opinion that declared the Wire Act (18 U.S.C. § 1084) only applied to sports gambling. After the release of the 2011 opinion, several states, including New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, launched or moved forward with intrastate online lottery, casino gaming and poker. The new opinion, however, somewhat clouds the landscape regarding these operations. Online gaming businesses would be well advised to quickly determine whether their operations comply with the DOJ’s new reading.

The reconsideration stems from one phrase in the Wire Act: “on any sporting event or contest.” In 2011, the DOJ opined that the Wire Act was ambiguous and “that the more logical result” was that the phrase “on any sporting event or contest” applied to the entirety of the Wire Act, thereby prohibiting only the transmission of “bets or wagers” or “information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers” across state lines, if the bet or wager were on a sporting event. This logic follows in part from the Act’s legislative history, which reveals that Congress’ overriding goal in passing the Wire Act was to stop the use of wire communications by organized crime for illegal sports gambling. In 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Murphy v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n—a decision that paved the way for states to authorize sports betting, in dicta—noted Congress’ original intent in characterizing a general federal approach to gambling: Operating a gambling business violates federal law only if that conduct is illegal under state or local law.

Read the full Duane Morris Alert.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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