Gambling expansion should mean more jobs for lawyers

 Gambling could be good for lawyers if online gaming continues to move forward. There is a growing movement at the federal level and in some states, such as New Jersey, toward legalizing Internet gambling, the high-growth sector of the gaming industry.

The Robert Denney Associates’ annual report of  “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession,” shows that gambling joins a list of other practice specialties that are more obvious — such as energy, patent litigation and intellectual property.

It’s not just online gambling that will potentially lead to legal jobs, but the industry as a whole.

Jennifer Webb is the regulatory and legislative manager at Gambling Compliance, an online publisher of legal, regulatory, political and business information for the global gambling industry. She said legalizing gambling is one way for states to increase revenue.

“A lot of states have been under budget constraints, so they’ve approved gambling,” Webb said. “So that opens up a whole new legal field — people have to do compliance issues and all the normal legal things that would come with any sort of business and starting new businesses in the state.”

The states of Ohio and Massachusetts recently approved gambling. Webb said New Hampshire is might legalize casinos, and there are other states looking to Internet options and online gaming. Delaware and Nevada would be examples of those, so they would also open up a new sector, she said.

“States have looked at expanding or deregulating gaming [to increase revenue]” Webb said. “So it has created new jobs for attorneys in the gaming industry.”

This growth in the industry could lead to more public sector jobs, in addition to private.

“When you have a new state that legalizes gambling where there wasn’t gambling before, they need a gaming commission or regulator,” Webb said. “Any state where there was no gambling before, there’s definitely public [sector] opportunities, but states where they are expanding gambling, that would depend on the kind of resources they need.”

As far as expertise in the industry, Webb said knowledge of local government law is most important since gambling is regulated at the local level.  A tribal law class would also be helpful, given the large number of casinos on Indian reservations.

“Gambling is a changing industry,” Webb said. “It’s one of the few growing industries in the legal field.”

For more information on the gambling industry, go to www.gamblingcompliance.com.