The Aird & Berlis LLP Gaming Group is a highly-experienced, multi-disciplinary team that provides specialized and sophisticated service to clients in the gaming industry. We advise clients across Canada and internationally on regulatory compliance and licensing, as well as all corporate matters.
Aird & Berlis has played a major role in the growth and development of Ontario’s gaming industry since its inception. We advise industry leaders in all types of gaming, from pure gambling to hospitality and entertainment. Our expertise in areas such as technology, regulatory compliance, commercial contracting, licensing, real estate, tax, corporate structuring and litigation enables us to provide clients with comprehensive legal service.
Building on exceptional experience in traditional gaming matters, Aird & Berlis’s lawyers frequently advise on novel gaming platforms and models. In recent years, we have led the way on the expansion into online and off-shore gaming, social gaming, skill-based gaming, e-sports and fantasy sports. We have developed novel regulatory and commercial approaches to accommodate emerging technologies and the increased connection between the gaming, hospitality and entertainment sectors.
Clients trust our knowledge of the legal, regulatory and enforcement positions, and they rely on us to analyze and take advantage of any possible differences between them. We provide practical advice, with a focus on identifying and mitigating risk, so that our clients can achieve their objectives and carry on business within their chosen risk profile.
Through strong relationships with the regulatory and enforcement authorities, we are able to navigate the intricacies of interpretation applicable to gaming legislation. This allows us to maximize legal compliance while reducing taxes payable and increasing operational efficiencies.
Further, we have key contacts at private industry operators, service providers and policy creators, both across Canada and internationally, keeping us informed of all industry developments and trends.
Aird & Berlis’s lawyers frequently write and speak on gaming law topics, and are active in gaming industry groups and associations.
We take the time to partner with each of our clients in order to learn their business and to provide the most efficient, effective and cost-sensitive counsel available.
Because of the diversity of experience within our Gaming Group, we are able to work with gaming licensees, doing business in Ontario, Canada or internationally, to address all of their regulatory, corporate, finance, taxation and litigation needs.
Our Gaming Group has expertise in handling all types of gaming-related matters, including:
- Business ownership and operations structuring, often on a multi-jurisdictional basis, and optimizing them from a legal, tax and operational perspective
- Negotiating buyouts and mergers of gaming facilities and operators
- Gaming and licensing process and related approval processes
- Legal and policy structures of various gaming enterprises
- Government procurement processes and bids
- Protection and enforcement of intellectual property in gaming systems and software
- Online gaming regulatory matters and Internet gaming opportunities, both foreign and domestic
- Requirements of the Ontario Gaming Control Act, 1992 and regulations, the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and other pertinent legislation, regulation, polies and guidelines
- Mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and other corporate transactions affecting Ontario casinos or other gaming licensees
- Obtaining liquor, gaming and all other licenses and permits required for gaming operations
- Legal policy developments
- Foreign gaming interests considering entering the industry in Ontario
- Gaming regulations outside of Ontario
- Encryption and security issues
- Data and information protection policies, procedures, contracts and audits
- Reorganizations under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
- Corporate transactions and financing matters
- Board and special committee advisory work
Aird & Berlis has significant experience advising gaming sector businesses. Representative matters our lawyers have acted on or are presently engaged in include:
- Advising Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp. in respect of its merger with Super Group to create a global online gaming company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Advising Apollo Global Management, Inc. and its funds group in connection with the acquisition of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
- Acting as principal external legal and policy advisor to the Province of British Columbia in relation to online gaming matters.
- Advising numerous international online gaming companies in connection with their entry into the expanded Ontario/Canadian regulated market.
- Advising the oldest U.K. gaming business on its international expansion plans.
- Advising Francaise des Jeux, the operator of France's national lottery, and its subsidiaries on Canadian gaming matters.
- Advising a leading U.S. games publisher on its online gaming initiatives in Canada.
- Advising on the establishment and operation in Canada of a "white label" online gaming services provider.
- Advising Paddy Power, an Irish gaming company, in respect of its Ontario online gaming procurement bid.
- Advising Amaya, Inc., now known as Stars Group, in connection with its Canadian gaming regulatory relationships and proposals.
- Advising Ladbroke Racing Corporation in respect of the acquisition, establishment and operation of its Canadian gaming businesses.
- Representing the OLG as special counsel in relation to the potential acquisition of various lotteries operated by the western provinces, and subsequently assisted in considering the acquisition of a U.S. State Lottery, in a process managed by Rothschild Bank.
- Providing advice to counsel of a leading fantasy sports operator on Canadian legal matters.
- Advising a U.S. gaming company focused on the development of gaming facilities in connection with its interest in expanding into Canada.
- Providing Canadian gaming advice to a U.K. gaming company that creates online lottery experiences, relating to its work with the Canadian market.
- Advising a U.K. sports betting company on licensing and registrations relevant to the Canadian market and corporate matters.
- Advising the Government of Ontario on the establishment of the Slots at Racetracks Program.
- Advising YouBet, a U.S. gaming company, in respect of its Canadian online gaming initiative.
- Advising numerous technology companies in structuring Internet sweepstakes, skill-based offerings, social gaming platforms and compliance with federal and state laws.
- Advising the Commercial Gaming Association of Ontario and its members in a multi-year negotiation with the OLG over a new form of agreement and policies to be adopted across the charitable gaming industry in the province of Ontario.
- Advising a U.S. investment bank in raising funds for a leading North American casino operator.
- Advising over 15 charitable gaming operators on the renegotiation of all of their key supplier relationships and their purchase of assets from the OLG.
- Advising a major land-based casino with its proposed re-write of a state’s iGaming legislation.
- Advising a state lottery, in its solicitation of, and intended commercial transaction with, a private manager for its multibillion-dollar lottery asset, leveraging the Internet and retail-optimization as key value drivers.
- Advising software companies in online poker revenue sharing transactions with Indigenous Nations and horse racing operators.
- Advising a state lottery in a landmark, first-to-market, multibillion-dollar private management procurement transaction – a model that is proliferating across the nation.
- Advising private equity and real estate capital clients in matters relating to acquisitions of casino and gambling-related assets and Internet-gambling strategies.
- Advising national payment processors on Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act compliance, due diligence investigations and Internet lottery transactions.
- Acting for Scotiabank in the financing and refinancing of Casino Rama, a world-class casino resort located in Ontario, Canada.
- Advising in relation to the renegotiation of ownership and profit-sharing relationship between Indigenous Nations groups in connection with Casino Rama.
- Advising the buyer on the purchase of Tai Pan transportation services and its relationship with Casino Rama and the government regulator.
- Representing a corporate group in settling the terms of the siteholder agreement at a racetrack and gaming complex in Ontario with the province’s government operator; the related financing of the facility; the negotiation of the horseman’s and operating agreements; and settling the lease for the continuation of the business in wake of government regulatory change.
- Advising World Bingo Corp. in respect of corporate strategy and commercial operations.
- Representing Rock Gaming LLC (now known as JACK Entertainment LLC), a U.S. developer and operator of casinos, and its joint venture partners in their bid to develop a casino/hotel/retail/entertainment complex in downtown Toronto, as part of the Ontario modernization plan.
- Advising a major Canadian pension plan in relation to the lottery procurement process related to the Ontario modernization program involving the privatization of the provincial lottery.
- Representing buyers and sellers of racino facilities.
- Advising a private equity firm and established operators in their bid for rights to operate casinos in Ontario in connection with the government modernization plan.
- Representing various clients on corporate requirements and gaming and licensing regulations under the Ontario Gaming Control Act, 1992 with respect to the acquisition of casino and gaming facilities.
- Advising the principal of an owner of gaming facilities in connection with charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and managing the associated regulatory consequences.