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Gaming Law and Practice: The Role of Lawyers

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As the gambling/gaming industry in Nigeria, especially online gambling, continue to expand and evolve, and as new technology and novel products get introduced into the market; legal and regulatory issues unique to gaming operation and activities are bound to arise.

Gambling operators, online providers, manufacturers of gaming devices, other gaming providers and developers and related organizations will one way or the other, encounter a variety of issues that will require full range of legal and regulatory solutions. It is inevitable especially with the amount of international interest the industry is garnering.

Who Is The Target Client?

Clients can be gaming companies; local or international, seeking licensing permits from federal or state regulatory bodies, for operations and partnerships. It can be negotiating and drawing up commercial contracts for gaming operators, providers and regulators; both for local and international gambling activities, drawing up esports gaming regulations, or consulting in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, disciplinary matters, and legislative advocacy etc., gaming lawyers are needed to help clients reach their anticipated and ideal outcome, when legal issues emerge.

The gambling industry in Nigeria is as diverse as it is volatile; clients can also range from lottery operators, sportsbook operators, casino owners and developers, betting software companies, entertainment companies, esports, online gaming and fantasy sports companies, video game, arcade, gaming machine designers and distributors, game developers, owners and financiers, gaming device and associated equipment manufacturers, gaming promotion providers etc.

The Team

For gaming lawyers to thrive and create a niche in Nigerian gaming space, they need to have a team with combined knowledge and experience of the gambling/gaming industry (both local and international). They need transactional lawyers, regulatory compliance advisors that is well versed in gaming law legislation (both local and international), specialists in gaming and technology, litigators and most importantly lobbyists; who can advocate and collaborate on their clients’ behalf with state and federal agencies.

Other Services Lawyers can offer:

Lawyers can provide legal assistance to gaming industry participants, helping to minimize legal risks and address novel legal questions, as online gaming and esports continue to expand both domestically and internationally.

To offer the best services to their client in this niche industry, lawyers need to have experience in providing a comprehensive review and analysis of the land based and online gambling offerings, including esports and fantasy games. They ought to be aware of all legislation guiding the industry, and always look out for contests, promotions etc. which may appear not to be gaming related but could contain gambling elements that might violate existing state or federal laws. They also need to be knowledgeable enough to advice on the risks, the regulations, and to provide guidance in all areas of gaming law, including newer segments like online gambling, esports even crypto currency and bitcoin.

When it comes to related fields like esports, the competitors need competent legal representation as other sports athletes. Activities in the esports digital world also require services on areas such as, intellectual property, employment law, contract law, even competition law etc. Jurisdictional disputes or governing law disputes are bound to occur, especially with negotiating and drafting of contracts, as most international competitors are from diverse jurisdictions, and some are legally considered minors in some climes and thus cannot legally enter a contract.

What Else Can Gaming Lawyers Do?

Gaming lawyers can also represent gaming industry banks and other financial bodies, domestic and international that act as financiers of the gaming industry participants; (buyers, sellers, equity investors, borrowers, and lenders) while providing exceptional knowledge and acumen in this area to help their clients meet their ideal goals.

Gaming lawyers can also work with international companies/network, to facilitate and assist clients in establishing gaming operations in their regulated jurisdictions.

In the event that disputes between players in the gaming industry cannot be resolved amicably, gaming lawyers should be ready to delve into litigation. Gaming law outfits, should therefore have a team of skilled litigators that can handle from simple disputes to complex multi-jurisdiction, multi-party cases.

Conclusion

It is advisable for gaming lawyers to be versatile and have working knowledge of related practice areas like sports, media and entertainment, intellectual property, corporate governance, mergers and acquisition, administrative and regulatory and taxation; in order to ensure that every probable point of concern that may arise, is addressed and mitigated.

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