PRACTICE AREAS Online Gaming & Gambling
At the intersection of interactive gaming and government regulation, one firm stands out.
Ifrah Law has represented online gaming clients since the inception of the industry, and now represents many of the largest iGaming and online sports betting companies, ancillary service providers, and industry associations in the world. We have been at the center of precedent-setting prosecutions and lawsuits in the online gaming industry, and we were instrumental in the creation of the legislative and regulatory frameworks in the first states to permit online gaming: Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
Nationally ranked by Chambers USA in Gaming & Licensing Law, Jeff Ifrah and his firm bring decades of experience in betting and wagering law to advise startups in the eSports space, including both real money and skill-based p2p competition sites, on compliance with both state and federal law. Our clients in the sports betting arena include FanDuel, FOXBet, Bet365, Playtech, Unikrn, WorldPay/FIS Global, and Sportradar. Jeff and his team have also gained a strong reputation in other innovative internet-based industries such as payment processing and money transmission.
The firm is a founding member of iDEA (iDevelopment and Economic Association), an association which seeks to grow jobs and expand online interactive entertainment business in the United States through advocacy and education. Its members include, DraftKings, Entain, and Light & Wonder, among others. On behalf of iDEA, Ifrah Law submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the seminal sports betting case Murphy v. NCAA, which was decided in favor of iDEA’s argument urging the rights of states to direct their own economies.
Two characteristics uniquely qualify Ifrah Law to represent iGaming companies:
- Our substantial experience in both criminal defense and civil litigation. This is invaluable because even civil cases can expose iGaming companies to criminal prosecution. We are litigators who know the risks and how to avoid them.
- Our knowledge of the Online Gaming industry and the people who work in it. We are a firm of lawyers who share a passion for understanding our clients and their businesses. Through our representation of iGaming businesses since the industry’s beginnings, we have acquired an in-depth understanding which is key to our ability to craft solutions that meet our clients’ goals.
Jeff Ifrah and his team advise online casino operators, poker and fantasy sports sites, and payment processors on class action lawsuits, mergers and acquisitions, vendor and supplier issues, government investigations and criminal matters. We also serve as Special Internet Counsel for the Delaware State Lottery. The firm is known for representing clients in cases involving progressive areas of the gaming industry, such as sports betting, social gaming, skins betting, iGaming, online sweepstakes and lotteries, peer-to-peer betting and mobile gaming.
Ifrah Law publishes the blog, Ifrah on iGaming and maintains a timely white paper entitled, “The Definitive Guide to Online Gaming and Betting in the U.S.” (available for download here), a comprehensive overview of iGaming legislation and business opportunities. The firm has been honored by industry associations such as eGaming Review for its innovation, excellence, and dedication to best practices, and Jeff Ifrah frequently presents on issues pertaining to iGaming law for organizations like the American Bar Association (ABA), the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) and the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA).
Article by Abbey Block
Jeff Ifrah, Keynote speaker at NCLGS on the 2023 Legislative 101: The Big Picture panel.Read more
Jeff Ifrah spoke at NCLGS 2023 on a panel of experts discussing the future of iGaming and iLottery.Read more
Jeff Ifrah spoke on changing business and regulations for skill-based gaming in the United States.
Partner Michelle Cohen is quoted in this article on sweepstakes.Read more
EGR North America Spring Briefing
Jeff Ifrah, Panelist
Ifrah Law articleRead more
iDEA | GeoComply Power Lunch Summit
Michelle Cohen, Moderator
Jeff Ifrah, Panelist
Jeff Ifrah, Speaker
EGR US Power Summit 2022
Laguna Beach, CA
Jeff Ifrah, Speaker
Gaming Lab International Regulators Seminar
Jeff Ifrah was a Keynote speaker on the use of cryptocurrency in regulated iGaming markets.Read more
A regulatory, legal, and licensing overview of Maryland sports betting, explaining licensing, application process, and compliance requirements.Read more
The path to profitability – balancing efforts to achieve market share while prioritising sustainable spending
Jeff Ifrah moderated this panel discussing online gaming businesses finding balance in ambition, market share, and sustainable spending models.Read more
This panel will touch on some of the novel considerations arising from the legalization of sports gambling, such as tax rates, foul play, and legal impacts.Read more
Jeff Ifrah sits down with Hall of Fame inductees to discuss their careers, the history of sports betting in the U.S., and what the future holds.Read more
Panel discussing whether the industry has the appetite to challenge this legislation and if there are downsides to consider.Read more
Article by Sara Dalsheim
An introduction to the sports betting ecosystem from a diverse group of industry professionals who explain the micro and macro impact in legal States.Read more
Let's be clear, more brands also means more money.. for EVERYONE. But with it comes the risk of market share disruption, a fragmented customer base & regulationRead more
The growth of non-gaming revenue and the expansion of new forms of digital gaming, esports and sports betting creates new opportunities and challenges.Read more
Debating the current legislative landscape, ancillary regulatory issues, mobile betting, sports betting partnerships on campuses, and impact of Covid-19.Read more
Snapshot session: Regulatory Q&A sessionRead more
The Unwritten Licensing Rules in the United States: How to Safeguard Your Online Gaming LicenseRead more
FeedFront Magazine - 50th Issue (Article by Nicole Kardell, pg. 24)Read more
Lecture, The George Washington University School of LawRead more
UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law
Advanced Regulation of Sports Course
Comprehensive eBook from Ifrah Law, available as a complimentary downloadRead more
The EGR US Power Summit 2019- The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, CARead more
All-American Sports Betting Summit 2019- Monmouth Park Racetrack, NJRead more
Line Movers Sportsbook Management: Tribal Sports Betting Conference - Tulsa, OKRead more
Line Movers Sportsbook Management: Tribal Sports Betting Conference- Tulsa, OKRead more
EGR North America East Coast Briefing - Atlantic City, NJRead more
North Carolina Bar Association- 2019 Intellectual Property Law and Sports & Entertainment Law Sections Annual Meetings- Charlotte, NCRead more
Master Class Series at NIGA Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention - San Diego, CARead more
WEBINAR: Hosted by the North American Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA)Read more
Webinar- Hosted by GeoComply and Eilers & KrejcikRead more
CLE Program - Rutgers Law School, Camden, NJRead more
State Government Affairs Council (SGAC)'s Leaders Policy Conference - Scottsdale, AZRead more
Global Gaming Expo - Las Vegas, NVRead more
2018 U.S. EGR Power Summit - Miami, FLRead more
International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) Conference - Prague, Czech RepublicRead more
Webinar - Ifrah Law and Wiggin LLPRead more
Inaugural ESPORTS BAR ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE - Los Angeles, CARead more
Murphy v. NCAA: New Jersey Wins Big After Betting on Unconstitutionality of Federal Sports-Betting Ban
The George Washington Law ReviewRead more
Practical Law, Global Guides, Thomson ReutersRead more
Gambling Insider; US Gaming FocusRead more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
ICE Totally Gaming, London 2017Read more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
Legal Sports ReportRead more
Corporate Compliance InsightsRead more
American Bar AssociationRead more
eSports Conference, Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, CARead more
National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, 2016 Summer Conference, Boston, MARead more
E-Commerce Law and PolicyRead more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
iGaming Business North AmericaRead more
Gaming Intelligence QuarterlyRead more
Advising eSports Company on ICO, Cryptocurrencies, Compliance, and Regulation
Unikrn, an international leader in eSports products and content, asked us to provide legal advice on various new products, including its initial coin offering: we provided strategic advice on the products and games on which the cryptocurrencies could be used, while remaining compliant with U.S. gaming and financial services regulation on the federal and state level. We also worked closely with Unikrn during all phases of development of their product, including revisions to the product and games, updates to the ICO whitepaper, and various regulatory and compliance strategies. We continue to advise Unikrn on various new gaming offerings and are advising on licensing matters in newly opened sports betting markets.
Managing the Entire RFP Process for Tribal Gaming Company
Seneca Gaming Corporation is the largest casino in New York State in terms of revenue; it is owned by the Seneca tribe. The company runs three casinos in Western New York.
In 2013, New York passed a law allowing retail sports betting within casinos, but the passage of specific state regulations governing the activity was delayed; regulations are now expected to be issued sometime in 2019. The Seneca tribe retained Ifrah Law to help find them a partner to run this expanded operation of retail and mobile sports betting operations. We are currently running the entire RFP process for the casino, offering the opportunity to bid for potential partners to service this $1 billion market. Ifrah Law is advising on what the corporation should seek in a partnership and what potential partners might ideally offer; we have reviewed over 20 applications, and will help the client cull the list down to a select group of finalists to service a $1 billion market for sports betting in New York State.
Preparing License Application to Become Registered Casino Service Industry Enterprise
Ifrah Law prepared the license application for Ezugi to become a registered Casino Service Industry Enterprise in New Jersey. We have worked extensively on representing the client in negotiations with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to address Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) concerns, obtain approval of the application, and to receive transactional waivers for continued operations. The firm also represents Ezugi on its corporate transactions and revenue share agreements with multiple casinos. Ezugi was the first operator after regulation to offer a “virtual” live dealer where remote players watch and play poker
online while they view a real casino table and dealer. This innovative and cutting-edge work has resulted in our client partnering with the Golden Nugget Casino and its counsel, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.
Sports Betting Data Company Licensing and Preserving Commercial Contracts
A sports betting data company contacted Ifrah Law to assist with its licensing process in New Jersey and Mississippi in relation to its sports betting business. The company provides sports betting data to sports books all over the world and is seeking licensure in New Jersey and Mississippi.
Ifrah Law assisted with the licensing process, including reviewing applications and disclosures, advising on proper disclosures for corporate officers and the various business entities, and working directly with regulators on the licensing process. We were successful in securing approval for operations in New Jersey while the investigation was underway.
The firm also assisted with petitioning the Mississippi Gaming Commission for approval to begin offering certain sports betting products prior to finalization of the license application, thus preserving the company’s commercial contracts.
Ifrah Law Represents Seller in Multi-Million Dollar Acquisition of Affiliate Marketing Company by Publicly Traded International iGaming Corporation
In the second acquisition this year negotiated by Ifrah Law in the iGaming space, an international gaming company has purchased the firm’s affiliate marketing client in a deal valued at approximately $6.5 million. The buyer praised the deal as confirming its position as the number one player in iGaming lead generation in the U.S.
Requiring an in depth knowledge of the iGaming industry in addition to applicable gaming laws, the deal demonstrates Ifrah Law’s preeminence in this rapidly growing space. The firm’s reputation continues to rise as the go-to advisor for building profitable businesses in the affiliate marketing and iGaming industries, which are becoming increasingly attractive to larger buyers.
Clients turn to Ifrah Law for its ability to create meaningful agreements, often in an accelerated time frame, which provide value to buyers while at the same time encouraging sellers to continue to innovate in this burgeoning industry.
As the legislative climate for iGaming improves across the U.S., Ifrah Law anticipates an increase in companies seeking to take advantage of the opportunities available in this profitable nexus between affiliate marketing and online gaming.
Partner and M & A Lead Michelle Cohen and Counsel Drew Barnholtz represented the Seller in this transaction.
Leading a First-of-its-Kind Battle to Block the Seizure of Domain Names
When the state of Kentucky went to court to try to seize the domain names of 141 internet gambling sites, it was a shot across the bow of Internet companies around the world. If the state’s lawsuit – the first of its kind anywhere – was successful in bringing about the forfeiture of the domain names, the consequences would be severe for both Internet commerce and civil liberties.
At an initial court hearing attended only by the state’s lawyers, without notice to the owners of the domain names, the judge concluded that the websites were violating Kentucky’s gambling laws. The judge ordered the domains to be seized and their ownership transferred to the state.
When it got word of what happened, the Interactive Gaming Council – the organization that represented the owners of 61 of the domain names at issue in the case – turned to Jeff Ifrah for help. As a host of other organizations – including trade associations and civil liberties groups – mobilized to join in fighting the judge’s order, Jeff became lead counsel, coordinating the legal challenge to the seizures.
Not surprisingly, the judge turned down their request that he reverse his own order. Convinced the order was unlawful, Jeff led the defense team in taking the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. There, Jeff persuaded the Court of Appeals to rule that the judge exceeded his jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals ordered that the seizures be blocked.
The state appealed that ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court, where Jeff continued to fight the forfeiture. The appeal raised significant legal issues never before decided by the court, including whether a domain name can be considered property that is subject to seizure under Kentucky law and whether a domain name can be considered a gambling device under the law.
In the end, the Supreme Court sidestepped these important questions. Instead, it ruled that the case was not properly before it because of a legal technicality. But the end of the appeal was not the end of the case. Litigation continues with Kentucky state officials. While the final outcome of the case remains to be seen, its significance will be felt throughout the internet gaming industry.
(Commonwealth of Kentucky ex rel. J. Michael Brown, Secretary, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet v. 141 Internet Domain Names – Civil Action No.: 08-CI-1409 (Commonwealth of Kentucky, Franklin Circuit Court, Division II))
Ifrah Law Wins Dismissal In PokerStars Class Action
When faced with an attempted class action in the plaintiff-friendly Southern District of Illinois, PokerStars turned to Ifrah Law to defend them. Not only did this case pose the risk of a multi-million dollar hit to PokerStars, but a money judgment would have opened the door for related class actions against online poker operators offering services without a license.
The plaintiffs filed the suit under the Illinois Loss Recovery Act, which allows individuals to collect losses on behalf of third parties, providing third parties fail to make their own claim within six months of losing the wager. Ifrah successfully argued that PokerStars was not liable. The court agreed with Ifrah, stating that PokerStars served as a third part service provider – only providing the forum for others to play and does not have stake decided in how the game plays out.
The Judge’s decision in this case was monumental for the online gaming industry and likely closed the door on future class actions against PokerStars. Further, this case provides precedent for other class actions that may arise against online gaming operators.
(Kelly Sonnenberg v. Oldford Group, Ltd., and Rational Entertainment Enterprises, Ltd. (No. 13-0344-Drh) (S.D. Il.))
Obtaining Dismissal of Fraud Claims Against Online Gambling
In the first class action suit brought by former U.S. poker players, Ifrah Law went all in and won a big pot on behalf of an online poker company and individual poker pros that were defendants.
The suit involved complex fraud issues arising out of claims of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations. These issues resulted from the plaintiff’s demand for return of U.S. player funds held in online gambler accounts after Black Friday. On that day in 2011, the U.S. government shut down the three most popular online poker sites. More than two million citizens were playing our national card game online, and they were confronted by the seals of the FBI and Department of Justice and a notice of domain name seizure as well as blocked access to each player’s account balance.
The lawsuit demanded return of plaintiff’s money under a conversion claim, and also accused the defendants of racketeering, which would have entitled the plaintiffs to three times the damages owed.
In a closely watched argument in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ifrah Law held all the right cards and won a dismissal of all claims against the poker pro defendants, as well as all RICO claims against the corporate defendants. The judge’s order was a big win for the individual defendants in this case, but also a victory for individual defendants in other class action cases pending in New York.
(Segal et al v Bitar et al. 1:11-cv-04521-LBS (S.D.N.Y.))
Representing an Online Poker Operator in Nevada Federal Court
When a leading online poker company was sued in Nevada by a prominent poker professional and former company endorser, the company put all their chips on the experience of Ifrah Law.
The plaintiff was one of the first women to place highly in a poker tournament. She claimed that during the online company’s early years she was offered a one percent ownership in the firm in exchange for her promotional efforts as a “celebrity player.”
She also claimed that the ownership stake was worth $100,000 a month for every month that the company was making distributions. She sued for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and fraud. Her attorneys estimated damages to be $40 million, with the additional possibility of punitive damages.
Ifrah Law won a dismissal in the trial – and won three more move to dismiss orders in subsequent actions. The initial motion to dismiss contained allegations that the player’s “typhoon of litigation” was fueled by a “thirst for publicity.”
(Cycalona Gowen v. Tiltware LLC, et al. – Case No.: 2:08-CV-01581-RCJ-RJJ (United States District Court for the District of Nevada))
Delivering a One-Two Punch to Simultaneous Gambling-Loss Recovery Cases
A plaintiff’s law firm brought two gambling-loss recovery cases against our client, Amaya, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The first case addressed alleged gambling losses sustained as a result of playing on the PokerStars website. Additionally, our client was implicated in a second case that named Rational FT, which the client acquired when the client purchased Full Tilt Poker (FTP).
Both cases were instituted by a third-party – the mothers of players who allegedly suffered these losses. And in both instances, the courts ruled in favor of our clients after Ifrah won numerous motions that caused the defendants to amend their ultimately unsuccessful complaints.
After nearly three years, the judge brought finality to these proceedings by granting Ifrah’s last-filed motions to dismiss (which had been pending since mid-2014) and ordering the dismissal of both cases with prejudice. The judge’s orders in both cases were nearly identical. The cases were affirmed on appeal.
(Sonnenberg v. Oldford Group, Ltd., Rational Entertainment Enterprises, Ltd., Case No. 3:13-cv-00344-DRH (U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois))
(Fahrner v. Bitar et al, Case No. 3:13-cv-00227 (U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois))
Successfully Negotiating a $60 Million Sale of iGaming Websites
Ifrah Law helped our client profitably exit its strong position in the lead generation market within iGaming through a sale of websites and other affiliate related assets from the US-based founders in a transaction worth up to $60 million.
The acquisition included generated revenues from licensed operators in the regulated casino and poker markets in the states of New Jersey and Nevada, plus a range of other assets which are expected to generate significant revenues as other US states re-regulate iGaming. It positions the buyer to become the largest regulated casino affiliate in the US, and to take advantage of further re-regulation in what has the potential to become the world’s largest iGaming market.
Currently the US market represents approximately 20 percent of the total online Casino market. Some states have reregulated to permit online games, such as Nevada (poker), Delaware (all game types) and New Jersey (all game types), and initiatives are underway to re-regulate in other states.
On Monday, March 7th, IAB Canada, the main trade association responsible for digital advertising advancement in Canada, and thinkTV, the company responsible for clearance of television advertising in Canada, co-hosted a webinar focusing on the applicable standards for advertising of iGaming in Canada. Also present were representatives from the Canadian Gaming Association, the Alcohol and… Read More
In a survey published this week by iDEA Growth, a national trade association for the online sports betting and iGaming industry, over 63 percent of those surveyed believe that between three and five states will legalize sports betting in 2022, with most naming Ohio, Massachusetts, and Kansas as the three states most likely to do… Read More
As Ifrah Law celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, we are pleased with the recent legal breakthroughs that have the potential to bring online interactive gaming into the U.S. mainstream, where it can create jobs and offer a secure, exciting experience for adults nationwide. For our firm’s founder, Jeff Ifrah, a passion for advancing online… Read More
Ifrah Law’s “The Definitive Guide to Online Gaming and Betting in the U.S.” is Available for Download
Complimentary eBook offers a comprehensive overview of the rapidly evolving U.S. online gaming and betting industry. “The Definitive Guide to Online Gaming and Betting in the U.S.” is now available – at no cost – as a downloadable eBook from Ifrah Law, which has been forging the legal framework for the online gaming industry for… Read More
Heavyweight parties are slugging it out in a lawsuit in the Granite State, and Ifrah Law is taking a lead role in protecting the interests of America’s rapidly growing online gaming industry. The New Hampshire civil case comes on the heels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) releasing an interpretation of the federal Wire Act… Read More
(This post was originally published on 1/15/2019 and updated on 4/8/2019) On Jan. 14, 2019, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion reversing its 2011 position on the Wire Act and sports betting, contradicting not just itself but decisions by at least two District Courts and dicta by the U.S. Supreme… Read More
On February 4, 2019, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (“NASPL”) issued a statement responding to the Department of Justice’s January 14, 2019, opinion regarding the Wire Act of 1961. In its statement, the NASPL hints that the DOJ failed to consider the effects its latest Wire Act opinion would have on… Read More
The Michigan legislature has passed a trio of bills that would legalize and regulate online gaming. If these bills are signed into law, Michigan’s three commercial casinos and 24 tribal casinos will soon offer players sports betting, online poker, and online casino games. In addition, these bills will pave the way for sports betting… Read More
Once adamantly opposed to the idea of legal sports betting, professional sports leagues are now hurrying to play catch-up in order to profit from the burgeoning sports betting market. On Wednesday, the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) issued a release announcing its “first betting data partnerships in the U.S.” with sports data companies Sportradar and Genius… Read More
It’s a showdown in Texas over the legality of daily fantasy sports (“DFS”) contests under Texas law. But it’s a showdown only for show, it seems. The drama over the legality of DFS in Texas began on January 19, 2016, when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton unilaterally issued an opinion letter declaring fantasy sports illegal… Read More
Anticipating a positive ruling from the Supreme Court in Christie vs. NCAA, legislators in Indiana have introduced a new sports wagering bill. Unfortunately, the bill includes a previously unseen poison pill in the form of a 1% “integrity fee” payable to the governing sports bodies: A sports wagering operator shall remit to a sports governing… Read More
Talk about a true David and Goliath story: David Yellin, an associate at Ifrah Law, recently called out Paul Clement, a true Goliath in the legal field. Unfazed by Clement’s impressive credentials – Clement boasts about his Supreme Court clerkship and his stints as Deputy Solicitor General and Solicitor General on his Kirkland & Ellis… Read More
App developers, take note: due to Apple’s latest “clean-up” project, you should review your current apps to ensure that they meet Apple’s new App Store Review Guidelines. Make sure that your app is not a clone, does not offer spam or pirated material, is up-to-date, and has a “unique feel.” What prompted Apple’s clean-up project?… Read More
The gaming industry – like many others – is constantly asking: what’s next? What is the next game or platform or innovation that will attract new players? To bring in new players and fans, many traditional casino operators have shifted their focus to video game-style games, which emphasize the player’s skill and utilize more engaging… Read More
This month Ifrah Law submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in Christie v. NCAA, a pivotal case with far reaching implications for the gaming industry and state coffers across the country. The case asks whether New Jersey can offer sports betting in regulated casinos and race tracks in New Jersey. A… Read More
A new enforcement initiative by the Securities and Exchange Commission, part of its proclaimed efforts to address cyber-based threats and protect retail investors, indicates that the agency is including Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) under its broad blanket of protection. Recent actions by the agency in the case of REcoin give more clues to its position… Read More
This week, in a joint statement issued by the People’s Bank of China, the securities and banking regulators, and other government agencies, the Chinese government declared that initial coin offerings (ICOs) constitute “illegal open financing behavior” and immediately froze all ICO activity. The joint statement explained that the tokens issued in ICOs do not have… Read More
New Jersey Sports Gaming In Flux: State Moves to Regulate Daily Fantasy Sports While Legalized Sports Betting Faces Greater Hurdles
In a highly-anticipated brief by the Solicitor General, the United States argued today that the Supreme Court should not take up New Jersey’s challenge to federal laws preventing it from legalizing sports betting. Despite President Trump’s knowledge of, and seeming sympathy towards, the gaming industry, his Solicitor General claims that the “limited practical consequences of… Read More
The Masters golf tournament had quite an exciting finish this year and it also was a successful tournament for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators. As reported by Dustin Gouker: “The Masters marked the unofficial start to the daily fantasy golf season at DraftKings… the metrics for Masters contests were impressive.” Such popularity inevitably leads to… Read More
Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis got some good news this week: State prosecutors have decided not to retry him on more than one hundred charges for gambling-related offenses. The State brought the charges against Mathis and fifty-six co-defendants in 2011, following a state-wide investigation of “internet cafes”—businesses that sell internet time to customers, who, with their… Read More
Gambling, including online gaming, lotteries, and land-based gaming, has tremendous participation in the United Kingdom. One study concluded that 75% of the UK’s adult population gambled in some manner. UK regulators take an aggressive approach to licensing, supervision, and enforcement of gambling laws and regulations, including gaming-related advertising. As more U.S. states permit online gaming,… Read More
The lawsuits against Valve Corporation are continuing their tortured procedural paths from various federal courts to state court and back again. After filing a complaint against Valve and several co-defendants in federal court, the case was ultimately dismissed. Not dissuaded, the plaintiffs refiled against Valve in state court, in King County, Washington. Yet, as of… Read More
The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates various licensees that provide services to the online gaming industry within the state. The agency recently demonstrated its power of regulatory enforcement over the online gaming industry and its unique ability to protect consumers with its recent discovery that a licensee may have provided US residents with access… Read More
A tried and true military strategy is to cut off your enemy’s supply lines: blow up a bridge and force a retreat. The tactic works in other situations too. It is regularly used by legislators and government agencies to address what they view as problem behavior from a particular industry. Instead of targeting the industry,… Read More
On September 26, 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that they had acquired two leading eSports teams, Team Dignitas and Team Apex. Not to be outdone, the next day Team Liquid announced they had sold a controlling share to Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber and entrepreneur Ted Leonsis, who is the majority owner of the… Read More
Do you remember when I wrote about how a federal district court had ruled that an online poker account was akin to a bank account and should therefore be subject to FBAR reporting? It seemed nonsense to me at the time—and I also worried about whether the court’s expanded definition of a “financial institution” would… Read More
We are living in a virtual (or perhaps “augmented”) Pokémon explosion. You can’t get away from news of public craze over Pokémon Go. Players young and youngish have made the game today’s most popular app, outpacing Twitter and Tinder download rates. In less than ten days from its release, estimates are that almost 26 million… Read More
*photo obtained from https://gameora.tumblr.com/ In light of unprecedented controversy over the legality of “skin betting” and eSports gambling, Jeff Ifrah and two other attorneys took to Reddit to answer questions from players, fans, and professionals. Together with Bryce Blum and Ryan Morrison, Ifrah participated in an AUA (“Ask Us Anything”) thread on July 5, 2016—just… Read More
Defenders of DFS like to point out that it is skill-predominant. If the same can be said for public prosecution, then New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been fielding one hell of a losing lineup. Between the two of them, DraftKings and FanDuel dominated the DFS space, and they still did after Schneiderman dumped… Read More
The iGaming world is excited about Assembly Bill 2863—better known as the Gray bill because of lead sponsor Adam Gray—which would legalize and regulate intrastate online poker in California. A few weeks ago, the bill unanimously cleared the Assembly’s Governmental Organization Committee; now it looks set to clear the Appropriations Committee as well. Those are… Read More
It’s a familiar sight: rows of men and women, on a bus or a subway, hands and eyes glued to their phones. But they’re not talking or texting or e-mailing. They are playing slots, though not for real money. This is the world of social casino – the subgenre of social gaming featuring casino-style games… Read More
Exchange wagering—a fixed-odds variant of pari-mutuel betting—is making its U.S. debut today. Monmouth Park, a racetrack in New Jersey, has begun offering on-site and online exchange wagering in cooperation with Betfair US. Beyond its own races, Monmouth Park has agreements for simulcast exchange wagering on ten racetracks around the country, with plans to expand the… Read More
Today, the New Jersey DGE issued a “Director’s Advisory Bulletin” clarifying how it would apply its suitability rules to gaming license applicants who conduct internet gaming in other jurisdictions. If you offer a game that is illegal in any jurisdiction, the DGE will consider you unsuitable and bar you from the New Jersey market. The… Read More
Just last month at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (“NCLGS”) winter meeting in Orlando, I discussed the strong interest in skill-based games by casino owners, regulators, legislators, and the public. In an effort to appeal to millennials, fill empty slot seats, and expand the demographic at Atlantic City casinos, New Jersey’s Division of… Read More
*Image from CalvinAyre.com Ifrah Law founding partner, Jeff Ifrah, weighed in on the battle over bets in a recent newscast for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” During the program, Jeff observed that major league sports are getting accustomed to the idea of legalized sports betting: “They are willing to recognize regulation; they’re willing to recognize the legality… Read More
As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It’s no secret that Atlantic City has faced its share of troubles. Gaming statewide continues to face transition, but after the dust settles, gaming in New Jersey, and even in struggling Atlantic City, should emerge stronger than ever. Following is the state of gaming… Read More
*This article first appeared in the January 2016 issue of eGR North America Magazine Pennsylvania is the most likely, and has been making slow but relatively steady progress since it commissioned a study into online gaming back in 2014. Since then, several bills have been introduced. Efforts have stalled, but not as in other jurisdictions where… Read More
As a gaming lawyer, I get asked a lot of questions about what is legal and what is not legal. A lot of folks end conversations with me by scratching their heads and saying “that doesn’t make sense at all.” The most recent head scratcher? A lot of online sites recently offered to sell Powerball… Read More
Christmas didn’t come early for daily fantasy sports players in New York. A state judge issued an injunction this Friday ordering the two largest DFS sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, to shut down. The injunction was based upon the judge’s finding that DFS constituted illegal gambling under state law. Fortunately for the sites, their players, and… Read More
Daily Fantasy Sports (or DFS) offers daily excitement to millions of US sports fans, and it enjoys tremendous support from its fan base. That support was on display today in NYC, as more than 250 upset fans rallied in front of the Attorney General’s office. The rally in support of DFS was in response to… Read More
A federal court has soundly rejected a plaintiff’s contention that she suffered any real-world harm based on in-game losses of virtual currency. In Mason v. Machine Zone, Inc., plaintiff Mia Mason alleged that she was a regular player of a free-to-play mobile game called Game of War (GoW): Fire Age. GoW is a multiplayer online… Read More
PokerStars, the innovative online poker industry leader with a deeply loyal U.S. fan base, is making its highly anticipated return to the United States online gaming market. New Jersey regulators have approved PokerStars’ parent company, Amaya, to partner with Resorts Atlantic City to offer online gaming platforms in the state through the PokerStars and Full… Read More
Photo courtesy https://outplayed.fr/ With a $143 million market in North America, eSports is big business in the U.S. And given its swift rise in popularity – 205 million people worldwide watched or played eSports in 2014, it will only become bigger. At last week’s eSports Conference, held in San Francisco September 9-10, industry leaders met… Read More
*This piece first appeared on the site LegalSportsReport.com on August 11, 2015 Welcome to one of the biggest business opportunities on Planet Earth: legalized sports betting in the United States, the land of the free and the home of 200 million sports fans. It hasn’t happened yet, but odds are, it will. And when it does, the… Read More
Texas Hold ‘Em is poker. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most, but the pronouncement was a serious disappointment to an Idaho casino. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Idaho-based casino could not lawfully offer Texas Hold ‘Em on its site as the game was… Read More
It is ironic that recent proposed legislation that would expand the scope of the federal Wire Act comes from a U.S. senator in the South, where “states’ rights” has always been a rallying cry. This past week’s focus on the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol (and… Read More
As online gaming companies compete for business, they are offering customers increasingly large incentives to play on their websites, often in the form of deposit bonuses. These deposit bonuses allow players to play with the bonus money as if it’s cash and keep the winnings (although players cannot cash out the bonus itself). However,… Read More
Minnesota’s legislature recently passed a bill that bars the Minnesota Lottery from offering online games, following a four month transition period. Specifically, the new law bans the lottery director from offering “the play of, on an electronic terminal, through a Web site, or by any other means or device, casino-style games, including but not limited… Read More
It’s not uncommon to see sports fans get emotional at a game, match, race, or fight. They feel invested in their team, invested in their athlete. For the sports bettors out there, that investment may be literal, but for most it’s largely emotional. So at the hour of defeat do disappointed fans have a legal… Read More
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has overturned a federal district court ruling that had permitted the State of Wisconsin to prohibit the Ho Chunk tribe from offering electronic poker on its reservation although such games are not explicitly and uniformly prohibited in that state. This ruling may have implications for the… Read More
The 2015 Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GiGse) took place last week in San Francisco, and coincided with many exciting industry firsts. GiGse is the largest and most established event in North America which annually attracts over 700 iGaming and related industry professionals from all over the world. On April 20th, eGaming Review (EGR) North America, named Ifrah Law “Best… Read More
Most of the news from the Atlantic City Boardwalk over the last couple of years has not been promising. Several of the massive casino resort properties there have closed and/or slipped into bankruptcy, and the resale or reopening of the properties has been stalled by legal and financial hurdles. But a new plan for development… Read More
The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing last week to consider bill HR 707, the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act,” or RAWA. The proposed bill would prohibit most types of online gambling, whether or not they have been legalized and regulated by any state. The bill was drafted in… Read More
It seems like, during the next Olympic Games in 2016, you will be able to bet your gold legally in Nevada on who will win the gold. Nevada gaming regulators have voted unanimously to permit the state’s sports books to accept wagers on the Olympic games for the first time in years. Nevada joins international… Read More
Minnesota’s Lottery Quagmire: The State Legislature’s Continued Resistance to Online Lottery Ticket Sales
As Minnesota’s lottery system turns 25 years old, director Ed Van Petten has sought to follow the lead of the most technologically-advanced state lottery systems in the country by expanding into the profitable market of online ticket sales. However, at a time when many states have enjoyed the additional revenue that online lottery sales can… Read More
While billions of dollars of sports betting continues in the shadowy world of illegal off-shore sports books, the fantasy sports business has been on fire. And as fantasy sports becomes the new hot “thing” online, it has continued to evolve: Dozens of companies are entering the market to offer everything thing from the increasingly common… Read More
As states continue to search for ways to generate additional revenue, several states have explored the possibility of selling lottery tickets online. Online lottery ticket sales represent an untapped market for state lotteries that could see rapid expansion in the next several years and it also looks to be a hot issue in several state… Read More
Last week, without much attention, four new regulations affecting online gaming operations in New Jersey became effective under the authority of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. The rules include changes to directives on funding from social games, requirements for exclusivity, and operator server locations. However, the fourth rule is an addition which deals specifically with… Read More
If the past 10 years have taught us anything it’s that the future is not just online, it’s on the go. For countless consumers, mobile and tablet devices are the preferred method of accessing online content. After a slow start, gaming developers have come around to prioritizing mobile platforms. All of this momentum has ground… Read More
This year’s G2E Conference in Las Vegas was held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center from September 29th to October 2nd. This premier gaming event is the largest floor show in North America with over 450 vendors and exhibitors, and also features key presentations by leaders in the industry. Firm founder, Jeff Ifrah was in attendance at G2E… Read More
Last week, the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a directive to the state’s casinos and racetracks allowing them to offer sports betting. The direction was surprising to many who believed that the governor had yielded to the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the state’s appeal on the federal sports betting ban. Recently, founding partner of Ifrah… Read More
In the competitive world of land-based casinos, high roller “VIP” players are courted with a host of special perks and privileges. A casino’s proprietary VIP customer list represents one of its most valuable assets, almost akin to the secret formula of Coca-Cola. This is why the Maryland Live! Casino filed suit in federal court in… Read More
Last week, the Kansas Gaming & Racing Commission (“KGRC”) updated the “Frequently Asked Questions” on its website to reflect its position that fantasy sports leagues violate Kansas law against gambling. Under Kansas law, a “bet” is defined as “a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance, one stands to win or lose… Read More
On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that marked the latest effort to bring legal sports betting to the state’s casinos and racetracks marking another temporary setback, though the efforts may not be over. The Governor stated in his veto message that the Third Circuit’s opinion from earlier this year striking down… Read More
Earlier this month, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation (“KLC”) presented state lawmakers with a timeline for the launching of an online lottery ticket sales platform by the middle of 2015. The KLC’s plan is to launch multi-state drawing games such as Powerball first and then launch other lottery products in the following months. Online lottery… Read More
Photo Credit: Meinzahn Three more casinos are set to close in Atlantic City. Unions, politicians and lobbyists are pointing fingers. One thing is for certain, newly introduced online gaming legislation is not to blame. If experts had been paying attention to the trends, they would have introduced regulated online gaming into New Jersey years ago…. Read More
Sometimes you should be careful what you ask for. And sometimes even when you get what you ask for, it turns out not to be what you wanted. The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied a petition for certiorari by the State of New Jersey in the case challenging its sports wagering law as a violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection… Read More
Florida’s Sweepstakes Law Takes Aim at Dubious Sweepstakes Run by Non-Profits – Legislative Fix Has Broad, Unintended Consequences
Florida continues to lead the fight against illegal gambling in Internet cafes. In 2013, state and federal agents arrested dozens of individuals associated with Internet sweepstakes cafes operated by the “Allied Veterans of the World & Affiliates,” a purported charitable group. These Internet cafes operated under a potential legal loophole. Patrons were supposedly buying… Read More
On June 23, the United States Supreme Court denied New Jersey’s petition for a writ of certiorari to hear an appeal from lower court decisions that invalidated its sports wagering law. This ends a three year fight to bring sports betting to New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks, but NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who has spearheaded… Read More
Now that three states—Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey—have successfully launched online gaming, there is a flurry of proposed legislation as other U.S. jurisdictions seek to get in on the action. A surprising number of the proposals seek to limit gaming to poker alone, forbidding real-money online casino games such as slots and blackjack. Such proposals… Read More
On Friday, a New Jersey state court judge threw out a lawsuit brought against the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City by six men who alleged that the Borgata was negligent in running a tournament in the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open which was cancelled after counterfeit poker chips were discovered in… Read More
In April the state of New Jersey issued warning letters to online gaming affiliate marketers who advertised unlicensed gaming websites in-state. Now, one unlicensed operator is taking the warning to heart and withdrawing from regulated markets. Bovada, the largest online poker site in the U.S., will no longer be accepting new players from the regulated… Read More
Extra Caution Required in Mobile Advertising as New Jersey DGE Releases Guidance for Affiliate Marketers
Today, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Gaming Enforcement (“DGE”) released additional guidance for affiliate marketing companies working with state online gaming operators. This guidance comes only weeks after the DGE issued warning letters to affiliate marketers who advertised unregulated online gaming websites in conjunction… Read More
In a recent case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the district court held that the plaintiff’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim should be dismissed. The court ruled that the plaintiff gave prior express consent when she agreed to the terms of her health insurance plan, which stated that… Read More
Introduced as “S 6913” on March 29, 2014, New York’s online poker bill will allow for poker only, both cash and tournament play. The bill allows New York to enter into liquidity-sharing arrangements with other states. As of now, the bill authorizes 10 online poker licenses that are good for 10 years. The licensing fee… Read More
Online gambiling is up and running in New Jersey and it’s off to a strong start, providing a welcome shot in the arm for ailing Atlantic City. Lawyer Sarah Coffey offers some early analysis. Gambling-Insider-State-of-Opportunity
Jeff Ifrah and Sarah Coffey of Ifrah Law explain everything you need to know about the New Jersey iGaming regulations. Gaming-Intelligence-The-Law-According-to-