• Posts by Karl F. Rutledge
    Partner

    Karl is known for his dedication and unmatched industry knowledge. His experience helps clients take full advantage of the opportunities in an evolving market.

    Karl Rutledge is chair of the Commercial Gaming Group and a partner in the in the firm’s Las Vegas office. He focuses on land-based ...

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On January 20, 2021, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kayatta for the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 49- page ruling upholding the U.S. District Court’s ruling rejecting the 2018 Wire Act interpretation that The Wire Act applies to all forms of gambling rather than only sports betting.

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Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts are a new and exciting way for banking customers to experience the thrill of a lottery while personally funding their savings account. PLS accounts add a lottery-style feature to certain savings accounts where financial institutions offer incentives to its customers to win prizes. These prizes are funded by the interest that accrues from the pool of prize-linked accounts.

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The complaint claims that Apple profits from games with loot boxes by marketing the games to children, acting as an agent for the game developers, and managing the monetary transactions. Apple does not explicitly provide notice that a loot box game feature exists and instead provides disclosures of “Offers In-App Purchases.”

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Big Fish Casino is a social gaming application that provides “freemium” online casino games. Similar to many other providers, users are awarded free chips when they create their account and may obtain additional chips by winning games, via free chip replenishment, or by purchasing additional chips. Big Fish Games was owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated and subsequently sold to Aristocrat Leisure Limited earlier this year.

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On April 24, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued revised and updated guidelines to allow certain gaming businesses to benefit from the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created under Title II of the CARES Act. This is a reversal of the SBA’s longstanding regulations that made most gaming businesses ineligible for any SBA loans.

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With many cities following shelter-in-place orders because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors. This does not mean that businesses are left to only sit back and wait for orders to lift. Instead, businesses should consider proactive measures to connect with their community, raise brand awareness and focus on how to bring in customers once the pandemic subsides.

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As social distancing and self-isolating guidelines are set in place with no immediate end in sight, many casinos are facing an uncertain future. Numerous concerts, conferences and other events held in casino convention centers have been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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By June 30, 2020 apps within the Apple App Store that use HTML 5 must be in full compliance with Sections 4, 5, and 6 of Guideline 4.7 of the Apple App Store Review Guidelines. The first extension of the September 2019 deadline was extended to March 2020 and Apple’s second extension is extended to the end of June 2020. Some online gambling apps have already begun to comply with the guidelines.

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As many businesses are temporarily shutting down and closing their front doors, companies are forced to reevaluate how they are interacting with customers to ensure the continuation of customer loyalty, connections, and the strength of their brands. Yet, despite this unprecedented time of social distancing, many opportunities still exist for businesses to develop and build those connections.

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While most businesses have reduced operations or shut down entirely during this time of economic turmoil, some businesses are thriving. Supermarkets, pharmacies and online retailers are dominating the headlines but another industry quietly thriving is online video gaming.

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In a world of shuttered casinos, restaurants and bars, many opportunities still exist for operators to develop business and build their brands through games and sweepstakes on the Internet.

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Washington state legislators have introduced legislation that would amend the definition of “illegal gambling games” in current laws to exclude most video games which would prevent further litigation against game companies.

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In the last several years, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of sexual assault victims who have publically disclosed their stories. Sexual harassment is prevalent across a broad range of industries, including Hollywood, media, hospitality and healthcare. As such, it has spurred many industries to reexamine their own policies to prevent sexual harassment. The gaming industry is no different.

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On October 24, 2019, the Nevada Gaming Commission (“NGC”) voted unanimously to adopt amendments to Regulation 4A, which governs lotteries and games of chance that raise money for nonprofit organizations in the state.

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A discussion regarding remote registration for Nevada sports books has been raised recently with sports betting commentators having arguments for both innovation and keeping the status quo. On the one hand, the argument is that given the numerous casinos in Las Vegas, it is not difficult to register for a sports wagering account in-person. The …

The post Remote Registration for Sports Wagering Accounts in Nevada appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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Entertainment Software Association (ESA)’s Chief Counsel of Tech Policy, Michael Warnecke, announced at a recent Federal Trade Commission workshop examining loot boxes,[1] that the video game industry will require disclosure of the odds of winning in-game items from paid loot boxes. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony Interactive Entertainment have agreed to new platform policies with regard …

The post Video Game Industry Pledges to Disclose Odd of Winning In-Game Items from Loot Boxes appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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The governor of New Hampshire signed sports betting legislation, HB 480, on July 12, 2019. The new law authorizes sports betting at retail locations and mobile wagering while located within the geographic boundaries of the state. If you would like to discuss this recent legislation, please contact authors Karl Rutledge at krutledge@lrrc.com, Glenn Light at …

The post New Hampshire Sports Betting Legislation Approved appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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In light of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission Wire Act ruling issued on June 3, 2019, the Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a new memorandum on June 12, 2019 extending the June 14, 2019 deadline for implementation of the Wire Act reinterpretation. The last extension we reported was issued on …

The post DOJ Extends Deadline to Enforce Wire Act Reinterpretation, Yet Again appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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On June 3, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro issued a 60-page ruling rejecting the 2018 Wire Act Interpretation that stated the Wire Act applied to all forms of gambling rather than only sports betting. As mentioned in our prior blogs, this case was brought in New Hampshire by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission...

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Language for the “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act” was introduced on May 23, 2019 by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), along with Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). This bill purports to ban the exploitation of children through “pay-to-win” and “loot box” monetization practices by the video game industry. The rules would …

The post Federal Loot Box Legislation Introduced: The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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On April 30, 2019, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland approved House Bill 48 titled “eSports Act.”[1] The eSports Act defines “eSports Competition” as a competition involving video games, including first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and multiplayer online battle arenas in which: (1) players compete against each other; and (2) the dominant element determining the results...

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Josh Hawley, a United States Senator from Missouri, recently announced plans to introduce a bill titled “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act.” The bill would, in essence, make it illegal for games “played by minors” to include loot boxes or pay-to-win microtransactions. How exactly the bill would achieve this is unclear as there is...

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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed suit on May 7, 2019 against the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for its failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request filed on February 5, 2019. The request sought documents relating to Sheldon Adelson’s lobbying efforts regarding the recent DOJ interpretation of the …

The post NJ Attorney General Sues DOJ For Failure To Respond To FOIA Request Regarding The Recent Wire Act Interpretation appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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Last week the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) refused to rule out future prosecution of state lotteries and their employees and vendors under the 1961 Wire Act. “The potential Wire Act liability of state agencies, employees, and vendors involves the evaluation of numerous complicated and important issues, and the department intends to give these issues …

The post New Hampshire Lottery Commission and NeoPollard Interactive Respond to DOJ’s Refusal to Determine Wire Act Applicability to State Lotteries as Requested by the Court appeared first on The Commercial Gaming Blog.

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The Quinault Indian Nation has filed a lawsuit against Valve Corporation in the State of Washington alleging the popular game developer engages in unregulated and unlicensed online gambling. The complaint, filed on April 3, 2019, claims the introduction of the loot box system in CS:GO “was a deliberate attempt . . . to increase its...

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We are honored to have our Gaming and Licensing practice recognized by Chambers USA 2019, and for Karl Rutledge being recognized in the USA – Nationwide category. We are excited to announce that 25 attorneys and 10 practice areas of our firm, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, have been recognized by Chambers USA 2019, one of the most …

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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to leave the gaming industry scratching their heads as it now claims the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) November 2018 Opinion did not address the Wire Act’s applicability to state lotteries and their vendors. This assertion came in a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, dated...

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On January 19, 2018, Maryland House Bill 283 was introduced by Republican Delegate Robin Grammer. The bill exempts competitive video games, known as eSports, from the state’s laws banning wagering and gambling. “eSports” is defined as video games such as first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and multiplayer online battle arenas in which: players compete against...

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“Impossible, simply impossible.” A common and candid response to the question of whether we can go a day without checking our social media. This simple response embodies the world we live in and the power that social media has over our personal lives. Social media is equally important in the corporate world. Companies ranging from …

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Incorporating user-generated content (e.g., video and photo contests) into a promotion can be an effective way to not only build brand awareness but also develop ties with potential customers.  However, use of user-generated content can be risky. In particular, requiring participants to post photos or videos and share such content could not only potentially tarnish […]

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