13 Search Results

May 7, 2020 |
Developments in the Sports Betting Landscape in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Click for PDF The world of sports betting, like many other industries, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in significant ways.  One major disrupting force has been the widespread cancellation of live sporting events.  On March 11, 2020, in light of the spread of COVID-19, the National Basketball Association halted play “until further notice”, and Formula 1 and the PGA Tour followed suit the next day.  By the end of March, play in Major League Baseball, the Premier League, the Champions League, the National Hockey League, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and March Madness had been suspended, postponed or cancelled.  Without live sports, participants in the sports betting market have less to wager on.  Likewise, the operations of brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbook operators have been upended by the pandemic.  Virtually all casinos in the United States have faced closures for some period of time as a result of the pandemic, whether pursuant to state or municipal “stay at home” orders or other limitations on the operation of businesses deemed “non-essential”, voluntary suspensions of tribal gaming operations, or other voluntary closures. In spite of these disruptions to the industry, significant developments in the regulation and operation of sports betting have occurred in several states since the pandemic emerged.  On May 1, 2020, online sports betting was launched in Colorado, with four online sportsbooks going live on the first day in a state that is anticipated to be a competitive market for sports betting operators.  From the end of March 2020 to date, new legislation or regulations authorizing and governing sports betting have been enacted or adopted in each of Virginia, Tennessee and Washington.  Likewise, in response to the widespread shutdown of live sports around the world, regulators in the established sports betting markets in New Jersey and Nevada have approved expanded offerings by online sports betting operators. Overview of the Pre-COVID-19 Sports Betting Landscape in the United States In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al, 138 S.Ct. 1461 (2018), ending the federal ban on sports betting.[1]  Following the Murphy  decision, regulation of sports betting was placed in the hands of each state, which has caused a patchwork of state legislation and case law governing sports betting to emerge over the past two years.  The federal Interstate Wire Act of 1961 further complicates this state-by-state legal landscape, as it prohibits the transmission of sports bets or wagers through interstate commerce. As a result, online and mobile sports betting operations (where legalized) currently require the bettor to be geographically located in the same state as the sportsbook operator accepting bets. By the end of 2019, sports betting had gone live, in one form or another, in 16 states.  State regulatory schemes governing sports betting have varied widely, with some states expressly authorizing online or mobile betting, and others limiting wagering to certain brick-and-mortar locations.  Of the states where online or mobile sports betting has been legalized, many have limited the number of licenses available to operate online or mobile brands (so-called “skins”), including by linking skins to brick-and-mortar casinos, triggering a wave of joint ventures, strategic partnerships and market access agreements between such casinos and platform developers.  Other emerging issues facing gaming operators include the use of official sports league data, integrity fees, player protections, and the costs imposed by evolving, and at times ambiguous, laws and regulations applicable to sports betting. Colorado:  Online Sports Betting Goes Live In spite of the widespread shutdown of live sports in the United States and around the world, four online sportsbooks launched operations in Colorado on May 1, the first day on which operators were eligible to begin sports betting operations in the state.  Two additional online sportsbook operators had received clearance to begin operations in Colorado on May 1, according to a statement from Dan Hartman, director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, although they did not launch on the first day of eligibility.  Betting on a wide variety of esports competitions may be offered by operators in Colorado, so long as such competitions are sanctioned by a sports governing (or equivalent) body. The first step towards legalizing sports betting in Colorado came in May 2019 through adoption of legislation authorizing a voter referendum to permit sports betting at Colorado’s 33 brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as statewide mobile and online betting.  A narrow majority of Colorado voters in the November 2019 elections voted in favor of a proposition that authorized and regulated land-based and mobile sports betting (other than NCAA sports, which is being reviewed by state regulators). The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission and the Colorado Division of Gaming worked quickly to meet their mandate to authorize operators to launch mobile betting platforms by May 1, despite the myriad challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Aiding in the launch of mobile and online betting operations amid the pandemic were the rules governing participant registration, which permit players to register remotely, without an express requirement to enter a brick-and-mortar location to establish identity, which has been an impediment in other jurisdictions.  Although land-based casinos in Colorado remain closed in light of the pandemic, sports betting at these brick-and-mortar locations will be legal and regulated when launched. Colorado is widely anticipated to be a competitive market for mobile and online sports betting.  State regulatory authorities have made 33 skins available, linked with the state’s 33 brick-and-mortar casinos. Of these 33 skins, industry tracking reports indicate that 17 have been accounted for (including the four platforms that launched operations on May 1), with numerous out-of-state sportsbook operators entering into joint ventures, strategic partnerships, and market access agreements with in-state casinos to date. Virginia: Sports Betting Legalized in Sweeping Gaming Legislation Virginia’s state legislature initially passed bills legalizing both casino gaming and online sports betting in March 2020.  After Governor Ralph Northam proposed amendments to this legislation, which amendments were ultimately accepted by both houses of the state legislature, House Bill 896 (legalizing and regulating online sports betting) and Senate Bill 36 (authorizing up to five casino licenses, subject to local voter approval in November) became law on April 22, 2020.  House Bill 896 authorizes up to 12 operators to obtain licenses to operate online-only betting on professional and collegiate sports (excluding proposition bets on collegiate sports and bets on Virginia college sports), with preferred consideration for each of the five operators that are ultimately selected to operate brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.  Regulation of betting on virtual events and esports in Virginia remains to be decided. Tennessee: Sports Betting Regulations Adopted On April 15, 2020, a new set of regulations was adopted by the Tennessee Education Lottery Board, the state agency tasked with regulating sports wagering, which regulations will govern sports betting when it becomes operational in Tennessee, which is projected to occur by the end of 2020.  The regulations provide for an open licensing system based on a European-style model, with an unlimited number of online and mobile wagering licenses available for operators.  When operational, mobile and online platforms will be able to offer bets on professional, collegiate (other than proposition bets) and most Olympic sports.  The regulations do not cover betting on virtual events or esports. Washington: Sports Betting Legalized at Tribal Casinos On March 26, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 2638, authorizing and regulating sports betting exclusively on tribal lands in Washington.  The law, which contained an “emergency clause” limiting voters’ ability to block it through a referendum, permits betting on all professional and college sports (other than college teams based in Washington), to the extent offered on tribal lands pursuant to gaming compacts with the state that include sports betting.  There are currently 29 tribal casinos that are eligible to renegotiate their state gaming compacts in order to host retail sportsbook and on-site mobile sports betting under the new law. New Jersey: New Bets Approved Amid Widespread Live Sports Shutdown Amid the COVID-19-driven shutdown of live sporting events in North America, Western Europe, and Asia, New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (“DGE”) expanded its official list of approved wagering events at the end of March 2020, allowing online sportsbooks in the state to offer betting, in some cases for a temporary initial period, on sporting events that have not historically drawn interest in the U.S. sports betting marketplace.  Table tennis, Swedish handball, Nicaraguan and Algerian Soccer, and Turkish volleyball were among the approved new offerings.  Regulations in New Jersey already permit betting on certain limited esports events (for instance, the DGE permitted betting on the 2019 League of Legends championship), and state legislators are considering a bill that would significantly expand esports betting, allowing betting on any esports event not involving high schools or a majority of contestants under the age of 18. Nevada: Esports Betting Approvals Increased in Light of Live Sports Shutdown The Nevada Gaming Control Board (the “NGCB”) has significantly increased approvals for operators to offer esports betting since late March 2020, including approving betting on multiple League of Legends tournaments, the 2020 Overwatch League, and an eNASCAR series.  Unlike for live sports, the NGCB requires event-specific approvals for betting on esports contests, and approval is contingent upon specific integrity criteria.  Prior to March 2020, the NGCB had only approved betting on three major esports tournaments (in 2016 and 2017). Until brick-and-mortar gaming operations in Nevada are reopened, however, the expanded esports offerings for online and mobile sports betting participants will benefit only those players whose accounts have previously been verified in accordance with state regulations.  Although online and mobile sports betting participants may register their accounts remotely in Nevada, they must verify their identities in person at the sportsbook operator’s physical location before being eligible to place bets.  As a result, unverified participants will not be able to participate in the expanded esports betting options in Nevada until such time as land-based casino operations resume. The Road Ahead Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of many live sporting events around the world and almost all brick-and-mortar casino operations in the United States, state-level regulations governing sports betting have continued to expand and develop during the pendency of the crisis, and online operations have launched in a state that is expected to grow into a major market.  These developments evidence confidence on the part of legislators, regulators and operators that the sports betting market in the United States will continue to grow at a significant pace when the crisis subsides.  Although executives of major sportsbook operators have expressed skepticism that betting on more obscure sporting events, as we have seen in New Jersey, will continue in a post-COVID world, the momentum that has developed behind esports betting in certain markets during the pandemic may endure even after betting on the more traditional live sporting events returns. ____________________ [1] Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented the State of New Jersey in this historic victory.


Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding these developments.  For further information, please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, or the following authors in Gibson Dunn’s Betting and Gaming practice group. Authors:  Kevin Masuda, Sarah Graham and Maya Hoard © 2020 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.  

April 21, 2020 |
Illinois Supreme Court Rules That Daily Fantasy Sports Do Not Constitute Gambling Under State Criminal Code

Click for PDF In a decision that directly addresses an issue of critical importance for the daily fantasy sports industry, on April 16, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court held that head-to-head daily fantasy sports matches do not constitute “gambling” as contemplated by the state’s criminal statutes. Dew-Becker v. Wu, 2020 IL 124472. In this alert, we summarize (1) the current landscape of sports betting regulation in the United States, as well as treatment of daily fantasy sports vis-à-vis sports betting, (2) the analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court in the Dew-Becker case, and (3) the potential impact of the Dew-Becker ruling, and rulings by other state courts on the issue decided in the Dew-Becker case, on the daily fantasy sports industry.

Current Landscape – Sports Betting and Daily Fantasy Sports

Following the historic reversal of the federal ban on sports betting in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., 138 S.Ct. 1461 (2018)[1], the regulation of sports betting was placed in the hands of each state, which has caused a patchwork of state legislation and case law governing sports betting to emerge in the last two years. The federal Interstate Wire Act of 1961 further complicates this state-by-state legal landscape, as it prohibits the transmission of sports bets or wagers through interstate commerce. As a result, online sports betting operations (where legalized) currently require the bettor to be geographically located in the same state as the sportsbook operator accepting bets. While daily fantasy sports have not been generally viewed as sports betting, the question remains an important one for daily fantasy sports operators and their customers. At the federal level, daily fantasy sports are specifically excluded from the definition of “bet” or “wager” under the Uniform Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, the federal statute regulating online gambling. See 31 USC 5362(1)(E)(ix). For the states that have adopted legislation regarding sports betting, those that have chosen to explicitly address the treatment of daily fantasy sports are in the minority, although more than twenty states have passed laws declaring that daily fantasy sports are not gambling or otherwise regulating the contests as a lawful activity. Currently, the industry’s largest platforms offer paid contests in 43 states and the District of Columbia, but do not offer paid contests in seven states (Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington). In the case of Nevada, the state Gaming Control Board has classified daily fantasy sports as a form of gambling (which is legal in the state) that is subject to Nevada’s existing regulatory scheme requiring a state license, thus practically preventing operators from entering the market. One state appellate court has concluded that daily fantasy sports are a form of gambling. Earlier this year a New York state appellate court, in a split decision, affirmed a lower court’s finding that interactive fantasy sports constitute gambling after applying the “material degree of chance” test applied by a minority of courts. White v. Cuomo, 62 Misc. 3d 877 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2018), reargument denied, (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2019), and aff'd as modified, 181 A.D.3d 76 (N.Y. App. Div. 2020). The New York State Attorney General has filed a notice of appeal to challenge this ruling.

Dew-Becker Ruling

In making its determination in the Dew-Becker case, the Illinois Supreme Court, in an opinion penned by Chief Justice Burke, applied the “predominant factor test” used by most courts and concluded that daily fantasy sports do not constitute gambling. The “predominant factor test” is used to determine whether a game is a “game of chance”, and therefore constitutes gambling, by evaluating whether the element of chance or the element of skill predominantly controls the game’s result. Relying heavily upon recent statistical studies demonstrating the importance of player skill in head-to-head daily fantasy sports games, the majority concluded that the outcomes of such games are predominantly skill-based, and therefore, not gambling. The court discussed, but ultimately did not use, two other tests that other states have employed to determine whether a contest is one of skill or chance. First, the court rejected the “material element test” (employed by the New York court in White v. Cuomo discussed above), which analyzes whether the game involves the element of chance to a material degree, reasoning that the test “depends too greatly on a subjective determination of what constitutes ‘materiality.’” Second, the court rejected the “any chance test”, which analyzes whether the game involves any element of chance whatsoever, reasoning that the test “is essentially no test at all” because “every contest involves some degree of chance.” Furthermore, the court underscored the ability of the state legislature to change the laws and regulations applicable to daily fantasy sports in Illinois, noting that the determination of whether “regulation of DFS is unnecessary or inappropriate…is for the legislature. We determine here only that the DFS contest at issue in this case does not fall under the current definition of gambling.” Dew-Becker v. Wu, 2020 IL 124472 at *6. The decision was not unanimous, however - in a dissent, Justice Karmeier sharply questioned the majority’s application of the predominant factor test, stating in his dissent that because the element of chance (e.g., the participant cannot influence the athletes’ performance) might ultimately thwart the participant’s efforts or skill in daily fantasy sports, the character of such game is one of chance. The dissenting opinion also foreshadowed the plaintiff’s intent, as stated by his counsel in press reports following the decision, to file a motion for rehearing on the grounds that the issue of head-to-head daily fantasy sports as a game of skill v. chance was not directly litigated by the parties.

Potential Impact

As the legal and regulatory treatment of both sports gambling and daily fantasy sports continues to unfold on the state level, the outcomes could have significant consequences for the development of the daily fantasy sports industry and for the business of daily fantasy sports operators. Whether state courts classify daily fantasy sports as a form of sports gambling may determine whether the industry is subject to the evolving and complex (and costly) regulatory laws governing sports gambling in the particular state. State regulatory schemes governing sports betting have varied widely. Emerging issues facing gaming operators include: market access based on a limited number of state licenses, distinctions between brick and mortar, mobile, and online platforms, the use of official sports league data, integrity fees, and player protections. If courts in other states follow the reasoning applied by the Illinois Supreme Court in Dew-Becker, using the “predominant factor test” or otherwise, in likewise reaching the conclusion that daily fantasy sports do not constitute gambling, daily fantasy sports operators conducting business in those states will have greater certainty that their operations are not subject to the legal and regulatory hurdles and costs imposed by evolving, and at times ambiguous, laws and regulations applicable to sports betting in those states. ______________________ [1] Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented the State of New Jersey in this victory.
Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding these developments.  For further information, please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, or the following authors in Gibson Dunn’s Betting and Gaming and Sports Law practices. Authors:  Kevin MasudaMaurice SuhSarah Graham and Maya Hoard © 2020 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

February 10, 2020 |
Law360 Names Gibson Dunn Among Its 2019 Sports & Betting Practice Groups of the Year

Law360 named Gibson Dunn one of its five Sports & Betting Groups of the Year for 2019.  The profile was published on February 7, 2020. The Sports Law Practice Group advises clients on the most complex sports industry matters, from the purchase and sale of U.S. and non-U.S. professional teams to precedent-setting litigation.  Gibson Dunn’s global sports practice represents a wide range of clients in matters relating to professional and amateur sports, including individual teams, sports facilities, athletic associations, athletes, financial institutions, television networks, sponsors and municipalities. The Betting and Gaming Practice Group is one of the most preeminent betting and gaming legal practices worldwide, representing the most prestigious and influential clients in the industry across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

February 4, 2020 |
The Constitutionality of Mobile Sports Wagering in New York State

As the 2020 legislative session in New York state gets under way, one of the topics on the agenda is sure to be whether New York will for the first time allow New Yorkers to engage in mobile sports betting. In that context, whether the Legislature even has the power to legalize mobile sports wagering, in light of the restrictions on gambling set forth in the state’s Constitution, is an issue that will be front and center. Ultimately, looking to the traditional methods of constitutional interpretation, the state Constitution should not be construed to bar mobile sports wagering in New York State; the Legislature should be free to offer it.

Currently, New York law does not allow mobile sports wagering, unlike the laws of an increasing number of states. But as the Legislature takes up this important issue, the questions surrounding whether New York should authorize mobile sports gambling should ultimately be ones of policy, not constitutionality. Mobile sports wagering can be authorized in New York state consistent with the state Constitution.

Mylan Denerstein, Akiva Shapiro and Lee Crain discuss these developments in their article, which was published in the New York Law Journal:

The Constitutionality of Mobile Sports Wagering in New York State (click on link)

© 2020, New York Law Journal, February 3, 2020, ALM Media Properties. Reprinted with permission.


Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding these issues. Please feel free to contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, or the authors in New York: Mylan L. Denerstein - Co-Chair, Public Policy Practice (+1 212-351-3850, mdenerstein@gibsondunn.com) Akiva Shapiro (+1 212-351-3830, ashapiro@gibsondunn.com) Lee R. Crain (+1 212-351-2454, lcrain@gibsondunn.com) © 2020 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

November 1, 2019 |
Matthew McGill Named a Sports & Entertainment Trailblazer

The National Law Journal named Washington, D.C. partner Matthew McGill among its 2019 Sports & Entertainment Trailblazers. McGill was recognized for his work convincing the Supreme Court to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The report was published in November 2019. Matthew McGill is an appellate litigator who has participated in 21 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, prevailing in 16. Outside the Supreme Court, his practice focuses on cases involving novel and complex questions of federal law, often in high-profile litigation against governmental entities.

June 18, 2019 |
Theodore Olson Named Lawyer of the Year at the American Gambling Awards

Washington, D.C. partner Theodore Olson was named Lawyer of the Year at the American Gambling Awards. This award recognizes the “top legal professional whose work and advocacy has enabled companies and organizations to thrive in the online gambling market.” The awards were announced on June 18, 2019. Theodore Olson is one of the nation’s premier appellate and United States Supreme Court advocates. He has argued 63 cases in the Supreme Court and has prevailed in over 75% of those arguments. His practice is concentrated on appellate and constitutional law, federal legislation, media and commercial disputes, and assisting clients with strategies for the containment, management and resolution of major legal crises occurring at the federal/state, criminal/civil and domestic/international levels. He has handled cases at all levels of state and federal court systems throughout the United States.

June 7, 2019 |
Matthew McGill Named Litigator of the Week

The Am Law Litigation Daily named Washington, D.C. partner Matthew McGill as its Litigator of the Week [PDF] for successfully challenging the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent Wire Act opinion that prohibited all forms of betting over the Internet. The profile was published on June 7, 2019. Matthew McGill is an appellate litigator who has participated in 21 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, prevailing in 16. Outside the Supreme Court, his practice focuses on cases involving novel and complex questions of federal law, often in high-profile litigation against governmental entities. The Gibson Dunn global betting and gaming practice is one of the most preeminent betting and gaming legal practices worldwide, representing the most prestigious and influential clients in the industry across Europe, Asia and the Americas. We believe that the Gibson Dunn global betting and gaming practice provides our clients with a unique offering – no other global law firm can offer an award-winning regulatory and compliance capability alongside a market-leading transactional practice in the betting and gaming sector in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region.

May 1, 2019 |
Gibson Dunn Named Best Regulatory Law Firm of the Year by GamblingCompliance

GamblingCompliance named Gibson Dunn “Best Regulatory Lawyer/Law Firm of the Year (North America)” at its 2019 GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards.  The award recognized the firm’s “exceptional legal service and guidance to clients within the sector.” The results were announced at its annual dinner on May 1, 2019. Gibson Dunn’s Betting and Gaming Practice is one of the most preeminent betting and gaming legal practices worldwide, representing the most prestigious and influential clients in the industry across Europe, Asia and the Americas. We believe that the Gibson Dunn global betting and gaming practice provides our clients with a unique offering – no other global law firm can offer an award-winning regulatory and compliance capability alongside a market-leading transactional practice in the betting and gaming sector in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region.

February 20, 2019 |
Law360 Names Gibson Dunn Among Its Sports 2018 Practice Groups of the Year

Law360 named Gibson Dunn one of its four Sports Groups of the Year [PDF] for 2018. The practice group was recognized for “locking down two multimillion-dollar stadium deals, helping NFL players fight back against various league decisions and clearing the way for legal sports betting.” The firm’s Sports practice was profiled on February 20, 2019. Gibson Dunn’s Sports Law Practice Group advises clients on the most complex sports industry matters, from the purchase and sale of U.S. and non-U.S. professional teams to precedent-setting litigation. The firm’s global sports practice represents a wide range of clients in matters relating to professional and amateur sports, including individual teams, sports facilities, athletic associations, athletes, financial institutions, television networks, sponsors and municipalities. The Gibson Dunn global betting and gaming practice is one of the most preeminent betting and gaming legal practices worldwide, representing the most prestigious and influential clients in the industry across Europe, Asia and the Americas. We believe that the Gibson Dunn global betting and gaming practice provides our clients with a unique offering – no other global law firm can offer an award-winning regulatory and compliance capability alongside a market-leading transactional practice in the betting and gaming sector in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region.

July 6, 2018 |
Winner’s Playbook: Behind The Scenes Of Sports Bet Case

Washington, D.C. partner Matthew McGill, Dallas of counsel Ashley Johnson, and Los Angeles associate Lauren Blas are the authors of “Winner's Playbook: Behind The Scenes Of Sports Bet Case” [PDF] published in Law360 on July 6, 2018.

May 17, 2018 |
Webcast: Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Limits On Sports Gambling

"A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine." — Justice Alito, writing for the majority

On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court held 7-2 striking down a federal law which prohibited States from authorizing sports betting. Gibson Dunn attorneys Theodore B. Olson and Matthew D. McGill led the successful team representing the Governor of New Jersey in this landmark case. In this webcast Mr. Olson and Mr. McGill will discuss the case, the oral argument, and the impacts of this Supreme Court decision. They will also be joined by Gibson Dunn partner Debra Wong Yang to discuss the regulatory and commercial opportunities following this decision.

Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-476

New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-477 View Slides [PDF] https://player.vimeo.com/video/270795895
PANELISTS Theodore B. Olson is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson Dunn, a longtime member of the firm’s Executive Committee, and Founder of the firm’s Crisis Management, Sports Law, and Appellate and Constitutional Law practice groups. Selected by Time magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Mr. Olson is one of the nation’s premier appellate and United States Supreme Court advocates. He has argued 63 cases in the Supreme Court and has prevailed in over 75% of those arguments. These cases include the two Bush v. Gore cases arising out of the 2000 presidential election; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission; Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case upholding the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages and Murphy v. NCAA, repealing PASPA. Mr. Olson’s practice is concentrated on appellate and constitutional law, federal legislation, media and commercial disputes, and assisting clients with strategies for the containment, management and resolution of major legal crises occurring at the federal/state, criminal/civil and domestic/international levels. He has handled cases at all levels of state and federal court systems throughout the United States. Matthew D. McGill is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson Dunn.  He practices in the firm’s Litigation Department and its Appellate and Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property practice groups. Mr. McGill is a Chambers-ranked appellate litigator, and previously was named a national Rising Star by Law360, which identified him as one of ten appellate lawyers under 40 to watch. He has participated in 20 cases before the United States Supreme Court, prevailing in 15.  Spanning a wide range of substantive areas, those representations have included several high-profile triumphs over foreign and domestic sovereigns. Debra Wong Yang This webcast will be moderated by Debra Wong Yang, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn. Drawing on her depth of experience and record of success, Ms. Yang focuses part of her practice on strategic counseling. She leads critical representations, both high-profile and highly confidential, involving a wide variety of industries, economic sectors, regulatory bodies, law enforcement agencies, global jurisdictions and all types of proceedings. She guides teams of attorneys and outside consultants in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve the most favorable outcomes, greatest protection of reputational interests and minimalizing of harm to the business assets. Ms. Yang also has a strong background in addressing and resolving problems across the white collar litigation spectrum, including through corporate and individual representations, internal investigations, crisis management and compliance.

May 14, 2018 |
Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Limits On Sports Gambling

Click for PDF Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-476 New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-477 Decided May 14, 2018 The Supreme Court held 7-2 that a federal law prohibiting States from authorizing sports betting violates the Tenth Amendment because it impermissibly commandeers state legislatures. Background: A federal law – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) – prohibits States from authorizing or licensing sports gambling.  In 2014, the New Jersey legislature repealed existing prohibitions on sports gambling at casinos and racetracks.  The NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues sued the State, arguing that the decision to allow sports gambling violated PASPA. Issue: Whether PASPA’s federal prohibition on state authorization of sports gambling violates the Tenth Amendment because it commandeers state legislatures. Court's Holding: Yes.  PASPA unconstitutionally commandeers state legislatures by dictating the content of state law regarding sports gambling (i.e., preventing States from legalizing sports gambling).

"A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine."

Justice Alito, writing for the majority What It Means:
  • In a significant victory for States’ rights, the Court’s decision makes clear that the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering rule has teeth.  Under that rule, Congress can neither affirmatively direct the States to enact a certain law nor prohibit them from repealing an existing law.  As a result, States are now free to choose whether or not to legalize sports gambling.
  • The Court also struck down the additional federal prohibitions on state-run lotteries, private operation of sports gambling schemes, and advertising of sports gambling.
  • The ruling likely will lead to the legalization of sports gambling in many States.  In advance of the Court’s ruling, bills authorizing sports gambling had been introduced in approximately 15 States, and they have already been enacted in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Connecticut, and West Virginia.
Gibson Dunn represented the winning party:  Petitioners Philip D. Murphy, as Governor of the State of New Jersey, et. al. Gibson Dunn's lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court.  Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders: Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice
Caitlin J. Halligan +1 212.351.3909 challigan@gibsondunn.com Mark A. Perry +1 202.887.3667 mperry@gibsondunn.com Nicole A. Saharsky +1 202.887.3669 nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com
  © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

April 18, 2018 |
Gibson Dunn Named Regulatory Law Firm of the Year by GamblingCompliance

GamblingCompliance named Gibson Dunn “Best Regulatory Lawyer or Law Firm of the Year” at its 2018 GamblingCompliance Global Regulatory Awards. The awards recognize “individuals and teams who have excelled in the field of regulatory compliance and responsible gambling initiatives.”  The results were announced at its second annual dinner on April 18, 2018.