Industry Team Leader(s)
- J. Kelly Duncan
- Thomas B. Shepherd III
Since the early 1990s, Jones Walker has been actively involved in counseling major casino companies, suppliers, investors and financial institutions on all matters relating to the development, acquisition, financing, and operation of gaming facilities across the Gulf South, including video poker, riverboat gaming and land-based casinos. Our services cover sweepstakes, raffles, internet gaming and lotteries. Our attorneys are available to assist with a wide variety of issues in more mature gaming jurisdictions such as Louisiana and Mississippi, as well to provide advice and counsel with respect to emerging gaming jurisdictions such as Alabama, Florida, and Texas.
Our breadth of experience allows us to provide a full range of services to clients involved in the gaming industry.
Our attorneys have experience helping clients understand and appreciate the variations in law regarding tribal gaming issues, particularly as it relates to Tribal-State relationships, Class II and Class III issues, and financing of tribal gaming facilities. We counsel our clients on the dynamic created by a Tribe's sovereignty as it relates to its interactions with both the governmental and private sectors, and help find workable solutions for any issue that arises.
Licensing, Regulatory, Compliance & Enforcement
Jones Walker attorneys have extensive experience advising and assisting gaming clients on suitability applications in connection with licensing and permitting, compliance, and the interpretation of the gaming statutes and regulations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We represent clients in proceedings before state gaming regulatory bodies, including the Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Our substantial experience in working with the state gaming regulators and the attorney general’s office in the states in which we practice provides significant benefits to our clients.
Our attorneys routinely advise on operational issues, including negotiating and documenting a wide variety of commercial contracts, such as employment contracts, consulting contracts, non-competition agreements, confidentiality agreements, leases, and purchase agreements.
On behalf of gaming companies, financial institutions, private equity groups and other investors, our attorneys handle secured and unsecured loans, debt and bond offerings, and restructurings for both development and continuing operations of gaming projects, as well as equity investments.
Real Estate Construction, Development, Zoning & Land Use
Jones Walker provides construction, leasing, insurance, and zoning and land use regulation advices for the development and expansion of gaming facilities. Given the strict scrutiny of gaming projects, our attorneys provide counsel regarding approval, amendment, and waiver procedures for conditional use provisos.
Jones Walker attorneys regularly appear before legislative committees on behalf of gaming clients and work closely with the legislative and executive-branch staffs.
Tax & Employee Benefits
Our attorneys advise gaming companies on the tax implications of the formation and operation of partnerships, registered limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations and counsel clients on the design, preparation, and administration of employee benefit plans. Jones Walker represents clients in administrative proceedings and in litigation regarding state and local tax matters, including those relating to income, franchise, sales, use, ad valorem, occupational license, and severance taxes.
Labor and Employment
Jones Walker counsels employers on labor and employment law issues, including personnel policies and procedures; employee misconduct; harassment, wage, and hour questions; family and medical leave; drug and alcohol testing; employee discipline; affirmative action; union elections; collective bargaining; and labor arbitration. We also defend employers against employment claims and litigation, including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful discharge, and we handle a wide variety of administrative matters before federal and state agencies such as the EEOC, the NLRB, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, OSHA, and the U.S. and Louisiana Departments of Labor. We offer a full package of supervisor training programs.
Jones Walker provides advice for the environmental aspects of gaming facilities development. This work has included negotiating site investigations and remedial programs for such facilities.
In addition to representing gaming clients in administrative proceedings, our attorneys represent such clients in matters ranging from complex real estate disputes to Jones Act and other personal injury and workmen’s compensation claims arising out of gaming operations. In addition, Jones Walker attorneys have extensive experience in representing gaming operators and manufacturers and distributors in claims by patrons for alleged winnings on gaming devices.
White Collar Crime
Attorneys in our White Collar Crime practice, including former Assistant United States Attorneys, provide comprehensive legal services to individuals and corporations in preventing, avoiding, and defending against criminal allegations and defending simultaneous criminal, civil, and administrative investigations in state and federal courts.
J. Kelly Duncan and Thomas B. Shepherd III, partners and team leaders of the firm’s Gaming Practice Group, were each recently elected to leadership positions for the International Masters of Gaming Law (“IMGL”) and the International Association of Gaming Advisors (“IAGA”), respectively. Jones Walker is the only firm with an attorney in leadership positions in each of these premier gaming organizations.
J. Kelly Duncan was re-elected President of the International Masters of Gaming Law at the organization's Autumn Conference in London, England for a second term commencing January 1, 2013. IMGL membership is by invitation only and with more than 270 members from 38 countries, the IMGL is a leading worldwide organization that is dedicated to education and the exchange of professional information concerning all aspects of gaming law. Mr. Duncan, who is a member of Jones Walker's board of directors, is one of only 10 gaming attorneys from the United States listed among the world's top gaming attorneys in the Chambers Global Guide since 2009. For 2011, he was selected as the “New Orleans, LA Best Lawyers Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year”.
Thomas B. Shepherd III was elected Vice President/President-Elect of the International Association of Gaming Advisors at the IAGA Summit held in Singapore, October 23 – 25, 2012. IAGA’s International Gaming Summit is one of the gaming industry’s premier summits and brings together leaders of the gaming industry from all sectors - operators, suppliers, attorneys, accountants, investors, bankers, regulators and other advisors. For 2011, he was selected as the "Jackson, MS Best Lawyers Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year" and as "Lawyer of the Year in Mississippi" by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Jones Walker currently sponsors a blog discussing issues in Mississippi Gaming Law at: http://msgaminglaw.com/. The firm plans to expand the blog to jurisdictions across the Gulf South at: http://gulfstatesgaminglaw.com/.