Transactional lawyers not representing the gaming industry may be in for a surprise if they believe they need not bother familiarizing themselves with the new Massachusetts gaming statute signed into law last November. Such is the message conveyed by “ Massachusetts Gaming Law: Looking to the Future ,” published today in the Boston Bar Journal, a peer reviewed publication of the Boston Bar Association, and authored by Dimitri Racklin, a partner at WilmerHale’s Boston office.
This article will prove valuable reading for just about any lawyer with clients covering these and other categories: catering companies, IT consultants, security businesses, and anybody else providing services to casinos in the Bay State. Ditto for lawyers with venture capital clients or others wanting to fund gaming operations or services, and of course those hoping to sell land for casinos or construct gaming facilities.
“On November 22, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law “An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth” (the “Act”), codified primarily at M.G.L. ch. 23K §§1 ff. (available here). With the Act’s authorization of commercial casino gambling and creation of a regulatory framework for the casino industry in the Commonwealth, Massachusetts has joined the growing list of states which have legalized commercial (as contrasted with Indian tribal) casinos in recent years.
The Act reflects the legislature’s decision to establish a limited-franchise gaming industry, opting for a limited number of licensed casinos guaranteed regional exclusivity rather than open-ended authorization of unlimited participation – and competition – in the industry (subject only to licensing requirements focused on ensuring probity, suitability and financial stability). The choice likely means that the development of the Massachusetts gaming industry will take place in two related but in some ways distinct phases.” Read the full article here.