Justia Gaming Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Business Law
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Land Holdings I, LLC, d/b/a Scarlet Pearl, LLC (“Casino”), sought to expunge a lien filed by GSI Services, LLC (“GSI”). The chancellor denied the Casino’s petition to expunge the lien because GSI performed work at the Casino within ninety days of filing its lien. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s order. View "Land Holdings I, LLC d/b/a Scarlet Pearl, LLC v. GSI Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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Emerald had an Illinois gaming license to operate in East Dubuque. Emerald operated profitably in 1993 but then struggled to compete with an Iowa casino. By 1996, Emerald had closed the casino and was lobbying for an act that would allow it to relocate. The Board denied Emerald’s license renewal application. While an appeal was pending, 230 ILCS 10/11.2 was enacted, permitting relocation. In 1998, before the enactment, defendants met with Rosemont’s mayor and representatives of Rosemont corporations about moving to Rosemont. After the enactment, the parties memorialized the terms of Emerald’s relocation. Emerald did not disclose the agreements as required by Illinois Gaming Board rules. By October 1999, Emerald had contracts with construction companies and architecture firms but had not disclosed them. Emerald altered its ownership structure; several new “investors” had connections to Rosemont’s mayor and state representative. stock transfers occurred without required Board approval. In 2001, the Board voted to revoke Emerald’s license. Its 15-month investigation was apparently based on a belief that Emerald had associated with organized crime but the denial notice focused on inadequate disclosures. The Board listed five counts but did not list who was responsible for which violation. Illinois courts affirmed the revocation but held that the Board had not proven an association with organized crime. Emerald was forced into bankruptcy. The trustee sued the defendants, asserting breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The district court dismissed the breach‐of‐fiduciary‐duty claim as time-barred. The Shareholder’s Agreement required that shareholders comply with IGB rules; the court held that each defendant had violated at least one rule, calculated damages by valuing Emerald’s license, and held all but one defendant severally liable for the loss. The Seventh Circuit concluded that the defendants should be held jointly and severally liable, but otherwise affirmed. View "Estate of Pedersen v. Gecker" on Justia Law

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American Century, a mutual fund, offers investment portfolios, including Ultra Fund. Ultra Fund invested in PartyGaming, a Gibraltar company that facilitated internet gambling. In 2005, PartyGaming made an initial public offering of its stock, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. In its prospectus, PartyGaming noted that the legality of online gaming was uncertain in several countries, including the U.S.; 87 percent of its revenue came from U.S. customers. PartyGaming acknowledged that “action by US authorities … prohibiting or restricting PartyGaming from offering online gaming in the US . . . could result in investors losing all or a very substantial part of their investment.” Ultra Fund purchased shares in PartyGaming totaling over $81 million. In 2006, following increased government enforcement against illegal internet gambling, the stock price dropped. Ultra Fund divested itself of PartyGaming, losing $16 million. Seidl, a shareholder, claimed negligence, waste, and breach of fiduciary duty against American Century. The company refused her demand to bring an action. Seidl brought a shareholder’s derivative action. The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, concluding that Seidl could not bring suit where the company had declined to do so in a valid exercise of business judgment. The litigation committee adopted a reasonable methodology in conducting its investigation and reaching its conclusion. View "Seidl v. Am. Century Co., Inc" on Justia Law

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The Mississippi Department of Revenue assessed taxes, penalties, and interest against Isle of Capri Casino, Inc. and its affiliated entities for tax years 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. The Department based the assessment on the application of the license fees as a credit, claiming that only the tax liability of four Isle of Capri entities that actually held the licenses were eligible for offset, and could not benefit the affiliated group as a whole. Isle of Capri appealed the Department's assessment first to the Board of Review and then to the Board of Tax Appeals; both affirmed the assessment with minor changes. Isle of Capri appealed again, and the chancery court granted summary judgment in its favor. The Department subsequently appealed. Finding no error in the chancery court's decision, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Mississippi Department of Revenue v. Isle of Capri Casino, Inc." on Justia Law

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Mason-Dixon Resorts, L.P. made a direct appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board decision that awarded a Category Slot Machine 3 slot machine license to intervenor Woodlands Fayette, L.L.C. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed: "[w]e have no doubt that there may have been other applicants for this remaining Category 3 license, including appellant, whose facilities may not have been appropriate for the award of a license. Our task, however, is not to determine for ourselves which of the facilities was the best one, but instead to pass upon the specific claims raised, under the standard review established by the Act. . . . finding no error warranting relief, we affirm the Board's Order." View "Mason-Dixon Resorts v. PA Gaming Control Board" on Justia Law

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Cancun Cyber Cafe and Business Center was an internet cafe and business center that operated a sweepstakes promotion whereby Cancun's customers could play casino-style video games to learn whether they had won prizes through the sweepstakes promotion. Cancun filed a complaint for emergency declaratory and injunctive relief and a motion for temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction against the city, police chief, and county prosecuting attorney, seeking declarations that, inter alia, Cancun's business and sweepstakes promotion was lawful. The county attorney filed a motion to dismiss Cancun's complaint. The circuit court granted the motion and denied as moot Cancun's motion for TRO and preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because there was no existing legal controversy in this case, Cancun was not entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief, and therefore, the circuit court did not err in granting the prosecuting attorney's motion to dismiss and denying as moot Cancun's motion for TRO and preliminary injunction. View "Cancun Cyber Cafe & Bus. Ctr., Inc. v. City of N. Little Rock" on Justia Law

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Appellant Willard Farr owned seven gaming machines seized from a Union business. The magistrate issued an order to destroy the machines, and Appellant timely sought a post-seizure hearing in an attempt to block their destruction. Following the hearing, the magistrate affirmed the order, and Appellant appealed to the circuit court. Appellant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented before the magistrate concerning the State's witness and her inability to identify which of the offending machines she played. Finding that Appellant misunderstood the burden of proof at the post-seizure hearing (which rested solely on the owner to show why the machines should not have been forfeited and destroyed), the Supreme Court affirmed the magistrate's and circuit court's decisions. View "Union County Sheriff's Office v. Henderson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC (KPG), a limited liability corporation formed by Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Penn National), entered into a real estate sale contract with HV Properties of Kansas, LLC (HV), pursuant to which KPG purchased from HV parcels of land in southeast Kansas for $2.5 million for the purpose of seeking to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. KPG ultimately chose not to develop a lottery gaming facility on the land. HV thus did not receive $37.5 million of payments that it had hoped to receive from KPG under the contract. KPG filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not breach the terms of the contract. HV filed a counterclaim alleging that KPG breached the terms of the contract. HV also filed a separate action against Penn National alleging breach of Penn National’s obligation as guarantor to make the payments due under the contract between KPG and HV. The district court consolidated the two cases and granted summary judgment in favor of KPG and Penn National. Following the entry of judgment, the district court awarded attorneys' fees and expenses to KPG and Penn National. HV appealed these rulings. Upon review of the trial court record and the applicable legal authority, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's order. View "Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC v. HV Properties of Kansas, LLC" on Justia Law

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The issue before the Tenth Circuit in this case pertained to a "class-of-one" equal protection lawsuit against a county government based on its demand that a property owner correct a nuisance. Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC alleged that after it and Cherokee County became involved in litigation concerning a casino development agreement, the County health department targeted Kansas Penn for a regulatory enforcement action. In particular, the County sent Kansas Penn a notice stating that the unkempt condition of its property violated state and local nuisance laws and regulations and warning that failure to clean up the property would lead to an enforcement action. Although the County never brought an enforcement action against Kansas Penn, Kansas Penn sued the County and some of its officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In its complaint, Kansas Penn alleged the notice of nuisance violated its right to equal protection by arbitrarily and maliciously singling it out for selective enforcement. Because the Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court that Kansas Penn failed to state a claim for relief under the standard set forth by "Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly," the Court affirmed dismissal of the complaint. View "Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, et al" on Justia Law

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Siblings Michael and Desiree Mendoza attended a wedding reception at the Santa Ana Star Casino operated by Petitioner, Tamaya Enterprises, Inc. (the Casino), where they were served alcoholic beverages and became intoxicated.  Casino employees continued to serve Michael and Desiree alcohol despite their apparent intoxication.  Michael and Desiree left the Casino and were killed when their vehicle left the roadway and rolled over.  Suit was filed in state court against the Casino claiming that the Casino's delivery of alcohol to Michael and Desiree while they were obviously intoxicated was in violation of state law and proximately caused their deaths. The Casino sought to dismiss the suit, claiming the state court lacked jurisdiction over a dram shop action where the tavernkeeper's duty not to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person is imposed by tribal law, not state law, and where the tribal law contains a provision reserving exclusive jurisdiction to the tribal courts. The Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing the district court's dismissal of the complaint and remanded for further proceedings. In this appeal, the Supreme Court addressed a question of state court jurisdiction in a dram shop action brought under the Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact (the Compact), negotiated between the State of New Mexico and the Pueblo of Santa Ana pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. There was a conflict between Section 8 of the Compact which provides for state court jurisdiction where a casino visitor has been injured by the conduct of a casino, and Section 191 of the Pueblo of Santa Ana Liquor Ordinance, which reserves exclusive jurisdiction to tribal courts.  Upon review of the applicable legal authority, the Supreme Court concluded that New Mexico state courts properly exercise jurisdiction over casino visitors' personal injury claims pursuant to the Compact.  The second issue concerns the two types of common law dram shop claims:  claims brought by third parties injured by the conduct of the intoxicated patron against a tavernkeeper (third-party claims) and claims brought by the intoxicated patron against the tavernkeeper to recover for his own injuries (patron claims).  The Court considered the status of such common law claims following the codification of dram shop liability in the Liquor Control Act.  Due to the explicit language contained in the act that limits its application to taverns licensed under New Mexico law, the Court held that the Act was not intended to preempt all common law  claims.  Accordingly, because the Act does not preempt all common law claims, the common law recognizes an action by a third party against a tavernkeeper for over service of alcohol.  Therefore, the Court affirmed the result reached by the Court of Appeals and remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. View "Mendoza v. Tamaya Enters, Inc." on Justia Law