Coming Soon to a Worksite Near You: Site Visits and Form I-9 Audits

Posted in GT Alert, Immigration

As part of its stated goal to protect the U.S. worker, President Trump’s administration will be increasing worksite enforcement activities. This likely means that there will be more site visits of companies utilizing visa programs and more Form I-9 audits of all employers.

Site visits are handled by the Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). FDNS officers visit worksites unannounced and speak with employers and visa holders about the conditions of employment. If the FDNS officers discover information that is inconsistent with the visa petition being reviewed, the visit may result in USCIS issuing a Notice of Intent to Revoke the visa petition and the visa holder may need to leave the United States.

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ICE VOX Holds Panel on the Role of Regulation in Creating a Healthy Gaming Market

Posted in Events, Gaming

On Feb. 7, ICE VOX in association with the International Association of Gaming Advisers held their World Regulatory Briefing in London. The event included a panel entitled “Talking Heads: What is the Perfect Regulatory Eco-System That Promotes Healthy Markets, Player Protection and Integrity for the Industry.” This panel served as part of an ongoing discussion of the role of regulation in creating and maintaining gaming markets across the world.

The panel was moderated by Ewa Bakun, Head of Gaming Content at Clarion Events, and included Ohio State Senator William Coley; Marja Appelman, CEO of the Netherlands Gaming Authority; Richard Schuetz, Executive Director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission; Alan Dunch, Chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, Charles Coppolani, Chairman of Arjel; and Harrie Temmink, Deputy Head of the Online and Postal Unit at DG Internal Market and Services, European Commission.

Moderator Ewa Bakun asked each participant to discuss how their jurisdiction balances consumer protection with fostering a successful industry. Marja Appelman explained that the Netherlands Gaming Authority is focused on getting all stakeholders in the gaming industry to work together to take responsibility for the successful regulation of the industry. One emerging area of concern is stalled legislation regulating online gaming.

Charles Coppolani, representing France, thought that most countries regulate from a position of suspicion, but believes that the health of the market must be a central goal of regulation because, if the industry does not remain healthy, the populous will find entertainment elsewhere.

Richard Schuetz described how regulation developed in the United States alongside the growth of Las Vegas. In the 50s and 60s, the purpose of regulation was to protect and sustain the industry. American policymakers found that to increase investment, employment, and overall success, they needed to ensure that the gaming business was reputable and that the bankrolls of industry participants were protected.

As a legislator, Senator William Coley argued that regulation comes down to math. While consumers think of gaming as chance, the industry creates plenty of solid data that regulators can use to run cost-benefit analyses on proposed pieces of regulation, helping to balance the needs of the industry and the public.

Alan Dunch, discussing Bermuda, felt that the principal driver of the gaming industry was the quality of the tourism product, which encourages foreign investment and drives employment. The jurisdiction’s gaming commission focuses on finding good operators capable of drawing people to the islands.

Harrie Temmink explained that as a super-national organization, the European Commission’s goal is to build trust and cooperation among the regulators, allowing them to build a strong and seamless regulatory framework where the health of the players is the first priority and tourism comes second. Temmink also stressed the importance of skilled and robust legal supervision, explaining that resources for supervision are often lacking.

When Bakun asked the panelists to describe how they interact with the industry, Schuetz explained that he learned more about the industry and regulators from being in the industry than he has by regulating it. He believes that regulators who are from the industry and understand its day-to-day workings are in the best position to solve problems. Dunch confirmed this, explaining that regulators who come from outside don’t know what they don’t know and have to rely on insiders to learn.

Appelman believes that being a good regulator is essential, even if the industry views you as being strict, while Coppolani said that he sees himself not as the regulator of the industry, but a regulator of the market, and that the market includes the consumer.

Senator Coley stressed that when the industry is honest with regulators and gives them true projections, the regulators can make better decisions and the industry benefits from more appropriate regulation.

Seven Privacy Tips & Recent Developments in Honor of Privacy Day

Posted in Cybersecurity, GT Alert

To celebrate Privacy Day (Jan. 28), here are updates on selected recent developments in cybersecurity and data privacy, as well as some tips on the use of personal information.

1. Internet of Things – Security by Design

Devices connected to the internet (“IoT devices”) often have access to critical and highly personal information about their users. Security vulnerabilities or deficiencies can cause the unauthorized disclosure or modification of highly sensitive information collected by an IoT device. Recent events have also demonstrated that IoT devices can be turned into a conduit for harmful attacks on other equipment connected to the internet. These deficiencies are receiving attention from consumer protection agencies and class action litigators.

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Greenberg Traurig’s Koji Ishikawa Authors Japan Gaming Article for Global Gaming Magazine

Posted in Casinos

An overview of the new casino gaming law in Japan

“In late December, the Act Concerning Promotion of Development of Integrated Resort Areas (the IR Act) was passed into law by the Japanese National Diet (parliament). With passage of the IR Act, Japan has introduced the legalization of limited casino gaming in the form of integrated resorts (IRs), and abandoned its long-held comprehensive ban on casinos.”

To access the full article, please click here: “Turning Japanese” (Global Gaming Business Magazine, January 2017)

Greenberg Traurig’s Ryo Takizawa Quoted in Inside Asian Gaming

Posted in Casinos

“Optimism blossomed when Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a casino supporter, returned to power in December 2012. He did so with a lower house majority but a coalition Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe partner, Komeito, that strongly opposes casinos. Integrated resort development was subsequently proposed as a perfect complement to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, leading to the late 2013 introduction of casino legislation that went nowhere.

Since then, Greenberg Traurig Tokyo Associate Ryo Takizawa says, ‘There has been a shift in focus from IR development for the purpose of the 2020 Olympics to a focus on attracting foreign tourists to Japan on an enduring basis into the future. It is generally understood that now is the proper timing to get IRs up and running without a major time gap following the 2020 Olympics.’”

To access the full article, please click here: “Japan Rolls the Dice” (Inside Asian Gaming, January 2017)

FinCEN Issues Guidance to Casinos Confirming that Suspicious Activity Reports May Be Shared with U.S. Parents and Affiliates

Posted in AML, Casinos, Financial Regulatory & Compliance, GT Alert

On Jan. 4, 2017, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN) issued guidance to casinos to confirm that, subject to certain limitations, a casino may, in accordance with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations, share a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) that it has filed, or any information that would reveal the existence of the SAR, with a parent or affiliate of the casino that is located within the United States.1

The rationale in support of this guidance is that sharing SARs with U.S. parents and affiliates will: (i) assist casinos in their risk-management responsibilities and compliance with BSA requirements; (ii) facilitate a casino’s ability to identify suspicious transactions; and (iii) enhance a parent or affiliate’s anti-money laundering (AML) program efforts by reviewing the casino’s SARs and obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of the activities that the casino has identified as suspicious.

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1A “parent” of a casino means any entity that controls the casino filing the SAR.  An “affiliate” of a casino is a financial institution that is required under the BSA to report suspicious transactions and that is controlled by, or is under common control with, the casino filing the SAR. FIN-2017-G001, Sharing Suspicious Activity Reports with U.S. Parents and Affiliates of Casinos,

Construction Defects: Who Is Responsible for What?

Posted in Construction

A construction defect occurs whenever finished or partially completed construction fails to perform as required by applicable contract documents or accepted standards. It is the bridge whose cables flex and snap, the concrete that is understrength or structurally deficient, the roof that leaks, the adhesives that do not bond and the paint that peels, to name only a few examples.

Obvious vs. Latent Defects

Construction defects can be obvious or latent. Defects such as undersized beams, understrength concrete or coatings failures usually are apparent during construction when liability is clear and the cost of correction is relatively minimal.

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IRS Does Not Reduce Winning Thresholds for Casino Information Reporting & Will Not Track Electronic Player Cards for Tax Purposes

Posted in Casino Winnings, Casinos, Tax

In a major win for the gaming industry today, the Treasury Department published regulations that do not reduce winning thresholds for a casino’s tax information reporting obligations, and will not track electronic player cards for tax information purposes.

Under current rules, a casino must file information returns on winnings of $1,200 or more on a single slot pay or bingo game, and $1,500 for one keno game. Even though these thresholds were set nearly 40 years ago in 1977, in March 2015, while working on proposed regulations for the gaming industry, the Treasury Department suggested that these thresholds should be lowered to $600 in winnings. This proposal was met with heavy opposition from the industry, who countered that requiring a game to be stopped for the player’s information to be taken down for a $600+ win would result in a major burden to the industry.

The Treasury Department has taken these comments to heart, and did not reduce these reporting thresholds in the final regulations that were published. Here, it paid to let the Treasury Department know how an industry felt about how a proposed rule change will impact them.

In addition, the new regulations will not use electronic player cards issued by casinos to track a player’s winnings and losses for tax purposes, which is another win for the industry as well as players’ privacy.