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.
On May 29, 2019, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a Change of Control petition for the sale of Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort. Two days later, on May 31, 2019, Wind Creek Hospitality officially acquired the casino from Las Vegas Sands Corporation for $1.3 billion, as the transaction closed on Friday. The casino resort facility, which is located in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, will operate as Wind Creek Bethlehem, and will include amenities such as a 282-room AAA Four Diamond hotel, a 183,000 square foot casino floor featuring slots, table games, and electronic table games, numerous food and beverage outlets, a retail mail, and a multi-purpose event center.
The closing of the transaction comes after approximately fourteen months of regulatory review and, most recently, the PGCB’s approval of the transaction. Duane Morris represented Las Vegas Sands in the transaction, providing gaming regulatory and real estate guidance and assistance in other areas, including serving as co-counsel before the Board for Wind Creek Hospitality. Duane Morris attorneys who assisted on this matter include J. Scott Kramer, Greg Duffy, Frank DiGiacomo, Chris Soriano, and Adam Berger.
On May 29, 2019, at a special hearing convened for this purpose, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a Change of Control Petition authorizing the transfer of the entirety of Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s interest in Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC’s to Wind Creek Hospitality, an instrumentality of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The Board’s Order, beyond approving the change in control, allows the casino facility to change its name to Wind Creek Bethlehem, reflecting the casino’s new ownership.
Subject to the Board’s conditions, Wind Creek Hospitality is able to acquire all of the interest in Sands, including its licenses, which include a Category 2 License, a Table Games Certificate, and Interactive Gaming Certificates. The Board’s decision comes after over a year of regulatory review.
Scott Kramer, Duane Morris, appeared for joint petitioner, Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC. Also, Duane Morris served as co-counsel before the Board for Wind Creek Hospitality.
Duane Morris LLP will present “Gaming in New York and Beyond – Looking to the Future,” to be held on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at the firm’s New York office.
In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), states now have the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting. Duane Morris has assembled a panel of gaming industry veterans and lawyers to help you understand the opportunities and challenges in this new era of gaming in New York and beyond. Partner Christopher Soriano and associates Adam Berger and Samantha Haggerty will be panelists.
For more information or to register, please visit the event page on the Duane Morris website.
Duane Morris attorney Adam Berger has been reappointed chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s (PBA) Gaming Law Committee, for a second term beginning on May 12, 2017. The PBA Gaming Law Committee is responsible for reviewing, studying and making recommendations concerning legislative proposals in the area of gaming law; promoting the understanding of laws, regulations and court decisions in the gaming area; and developing materials and educational programs of interest to gaming practitioners to promote improvements and professionalism in the field.
For more information, please visit the Duane Morris website for a press release about Mr. Berger’s appointment.
Duane Morris attorneys Christopher Soriano and Adam Berger of the firm’s Cherry Hill office will present a webinar, “2016: A Year to Hold’em or Fold’em,” hosted by the NJ State Bar on December 9, 2016. The webinar will offer retrospective on this year’s key legal issues in the gaming industry.
Topics to be discussed include:
- The recent decision shooting down sports betting in casinos
- Impact of the North Jersey gaming referendum on the future of the racing industry and on the Atlantic City casino market
- Online gaming developments
- Fantasy sports legislation/regulation
- Issues surrounding the potential closing of Monmouth Racetrack
To register for the webinar, please visit the NJSBA website.
Duane Morris associate Adam Berger of the firm’s Cherry Hill office spoke at the 2016 Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium, held earlier this month in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Mr. Berger participated in a panel discussion on “Daily Fantasy Sports: A Legal View.” This year’s symposium, A Changing Game: Challenging the Status Quo in Sports Law, analyzed the hard-hitting legal and business issues in sports today.
Daily fantasy sports—a hot-button issue from a legal, regulatory and business perspective—was the headline topic for the roster of industry leaders. The discussion also included the evolution of the NCAA’s legal and business landscape and a view of pro sports from one of the nation’s top agents and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
To view the Sports Law Symposium program, please visit YouTube.com.
On Monday, three-fifths of each house of the New Jersey legislature passed resolutions that will put a question on the ballot in November asking voters if they want to expand casino gaming outside of Atlantic City. As we previously posted here and here, the North Jersey casino proposal will allow for two casinos to be located at least 72 miles from Atlantic City, in separate counties. The minimum investment required for a North Jersey casino will be $1 billion. Current Atlantic City casino owners will be given an exclusive period of 60 days to submit bids for the two North Jersey casino licenses before bidding is opened up broadly. Current owners of Atlantic City casinos may partner with other investors/developers to submit a bid for a North Jersey casino license.
If New Jersey voters pass the referendum in November, the legislature will then need to adopt enabling legislation. This legislation will provide the details for the bidding process and the tax rate for North Jersey casinos. Atlantic City casinos currently pay an effective tax rate of 9.25% on gross gaming revenue. North Jersey casinos likely will be required to pay a significantly higher rate, perhaps in excess of 50%.
We will provide updates as developments occur.