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Don’t Roll the Dice with Gambling in the U.S.

February 20, 2019

Thank you to Jim Gatto of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. on an excellent webinar on U.S. gambling laws.

Webinar recording and slides can be found on Member Center.

Join us for a webinar to discuss the frenzy of legal activity with U.S. gambling laws and gambling-related legal issues with video games and esports. Federal and state gambling laws have changed more in the past few years than they have in a long time. Significant state law changes have occurred concerning online gambling, sports betting, fantasy sports, and skilled-based games, to name a few. The major federal law prohibiting states from authorizing sports betting (PASPA) was struck down as unconstitutional and the Department of Justice reversed its opinion in the scope of the federal law that prohibits certain interstate betting (the Wire Act). The evolution of certain aspects of games by the game industry—particularly those involving loot boxes, casino-style games, and chance-based mechanics with virtual items—has raised the perception of certain gambling-related issues and has led to lawsuits. Despite being prohibited by game publishers, players’ engagement in unauthorized activities (e.g., selling virtual items on secondary markets and “skin gambling”) have exacerbated these issues. The financial success of these monetization techniques has led to greater legal scrutiny. The rise of eSports has also implicated sport betting issues. 

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Speaker Biography 
Mr. Jim Gatto is a partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group in the Washington, D.C. office of Sheppard Mullin. He is also Team Leader of the firm's Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency team, its Social Media and Games industry team and, the Open Source team.

Mr. Gatto leverages his unique combination of nearly 30 years of IP experience, business insights and attention to technology trends to help companies develop IP and other legal strategies that are aligned with their business objectives. His practice focuses on all aspects of intellectual property, internet and technology law, including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and open source. Mr. Gatto advises clients of all sizes (start-ups to Fortune 100 companies) on key legal and business issues relating to the use of social media, video games, social games and online gambling (gamblification), virtual goods and currency, social networks, virtual worlds, mirror worlds, augmented reality, open source user-generated content, location-based services and gamification.

He has extensive experience advising internet and social media companies on business and legal strategies relating to virtual goods and virtual currency, developing IP protection and monetization strategies, handling terms of service and end user license agreements, development, licensing and partnership agreements, developing DMCA policies, handling DMCA enforcement, privacy and COPPA policies and much more.

Mr. Gatto's practice is national and international, and it encompasses a full range of IP and technology issues, including: patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation; counseling and technology transactions; developing and implementing IP strategies to protect and to monetize IP assets; creating and implementing corporate IP programs; conducting IP audits; conducting complex patent prosecution, including patent appeals, interferences, Inter Partes Review (IPRs), reissues and protests; handling patent enforcement issues, including licensing and litigation; negotiating and drafting technology agreements; conducting IP due diligence in and negotiating IP aspects of mergers, acquisitions and financings; rendering opinions concerning the infringement, validity and enforceability of patents; handling trademark prosecution, domain name, copyright and trade secret matters; handling IP aspects of employment issues; advising clients on legal issues associated with open source software including open source patent issues, licensing, open source compatibility issues, indemnity issues and developing and implementing corporate policies on use of open source software; advising clients on the legality of cutting edge Internet business methods and technology; and advising clients on computer law issues such as computer fraud and abuse and SPAM-related issues.