Balch & Bingham offers its clients one of the most prominent, sophisticated and experienced gaming law practices in the State of Mississippi. From the inception of the gaming industry in Mississippi, the firm has played a major role in its growth and development. The firm's attorneys were involved in achieving the passage of the Gaming Control Act by the Mississippi Legislature in 1990, and shortly thereafter represented one of the first casinos to open in the state. The Mississippi gaming industry has grown and matured into one of the premier gaming destinations in the United States and a vital element of the state's economy. Mississippi now offers 28 commercial and two Native American casinos to visitors and citizens alike, and throughout Balch has led the way.
With our experience in gaming law, extensive political involvement and the resources of a major law firm, Balch is uniquely positioned to provide significant benefits to our gaming clients.
We represent gaming operations in all of the state's major gaming markets, including several of the world's largest and most successful gaming companies, both publicly traded and privately held. Additionally, manufacturers and distributors of gaming devices and associated equipment from around the world rely on Balch for their gaming law needs not only in Mississippi, but throughout the United States. The firm also represents gaming employees, institutional investors, financial institutions, private equity and investment banking firms, landowners and Native American and charitable gaming concerns. Balch's attorneys regularly contribute articles to gaming periodicals and law reviews. The firm's position has enabled us to broaden our advice and representation into other jurisdictions, and our attorneys have drafted legislation legalizing various forms of gaming in both Mississippi and other jurisdictions. Our size, depth and experience permits us to offer a full array of legal services to our gaming clients, including:
- Compliance and Enforcement: The gaming industry in Mississippi is highly regulated by various governmental agencies, most prominently the Mississippi Gaming Commission. We represent and counsel gaming entities in their continuous efforts to maintain compliance with the requirements of the Mississippi Gaming Control Act of 1990 and the Mississippi Gaming Commission Regulations.
- Permitting and Approvals: As a highly regulated industry, many aspects of the gaming business, including gaming site approval, licensure, mergers and acquisitions, company financing and findings of suitability of key employees are subject to review or approval by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The firm's attorneys represent and counsel gaming entities in obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals from or reporting such matters to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, and assist with obtaining necessary permits from other governmental bodies with jurisdiction over the development and operation of casinos, including the state and federal environmental agencies and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
- Litigation: The development and day-to-day operation of casinos in Mississippi give rise to a myriad of disputes which unfortunately may mature into litigation. We represent gaming entities in such litigation, including patron disputes concerning disputed jackpots and contested site approvals before the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the Mississippi court system, both state and federal.
- Financing: The availability of capital is instrumental in the development, operation and growth of gaming companies. Balch represents gaming entities and financial institutions in obtaining secured and unsecured loans and in public offerings and private placement of debt securities. Additionally, we represent gaming entities and institutional investors in public and private equity offerings.
- Corporate Structuring and Operations: Gaming licensing is an invasive, onerous process. In many instances, we have successfully lessened the licensing burden by implementing alternative corporate structures designed to minimize the number of individuals required to undergo licensing. Many gaming companies rely upon our attorneys for legal advice regarding their initial structuring, subsequent corporate governance and planning. The expertise of Balch's corporate practice provides our gaming clients with the flexibility needed to achieve their goals.
- Government Relations: A strong voice in government is often critical to any business’s success, especially for gaming companies. Balch's deep experience in government relations is far-reaching and national in scope and has served our clients well over the years. Our attorneys and government relations professionals are engaged in both state and federal legislative processes impacting a wide range of issues. Attorneys in several of our offices are former elected officials, including a former member of the Mississippi Legislature and a former attorney general for Georgia. Our attorneys combine sophisticated legal counsel with our knowledge of and experience with the legislative and rule-making processes, messaging, politics and key relationships in government.
- Construction and Development: The construction of a gaming development involves a wide array of efforts, many legal in nature. Balch provides legal representation and advice regarding all aspects of casino development, including transactional, real estate, zoning, state and local tax incentives, construction and federal and state environmental permitting affairs.
As a full service corporate and commercial law firm, we also offer experienced tax, labor, employee benefits and many other practices gaming clients may require.