Nevada Redefines a Gaming Device Manufacturer

Posted in Gaming, Nevada, Nevada Gaming Commission

Assembly Bill 75 was signed into law on May 23, 2017, by Nevada Governor Sandoval. As previously reported, Assembly Bill 75 would amend what is considered “manufactur[ing]” under the Nevada Gaming Control Act. The proposed amendment would narrow the scope of developers involved in the gaming device manufacturing process that would need to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission as “manufacturers.”

To read more about this bill, please see our prior post, “Proposed Nevada Legislation to Redefine a Gaming Device Manufacturer.”

To receive updates on this bill and other related information, please subscribe to our blog.

Updates on H-1B Program In Light of H-1B Cap Lottery & Recent ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order

Posted in Government, Immigration

On April 7, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the annual statutory cap of 85,000 visas for fiscal year 2018.

The H-1B classification is a non-immigrant visa which permits U.S. employers to sponsor highly-skilled foreign nationals for temporary work authorization in specialty occupations in the United States.  Specialty occupations are ones that require a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent for entry into the occupation. Companies in the gaming industry rely on H-1B visas to secure talent and fill employment gaps particularly in technology-related roles.

On April 17, 2017, USCIS announced that it received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period. This year’s filing period began on Monday, April 3, and remained open for the first five business days of the month. The number of H-1B petitions received this year was lower than the numbers received in 2016 and 2015, during which USCIS received 236,000 and 233,000 petitions respectively. On April 11, USCIS completed its computer-generated selection process, or lottery, to select enough applications to ensure approval of the annual statutory maximum of 85,000 H-1B visas.

20,000 visas within the annual statutory cap are reserved for beneficiaries who have obtained an advanced degree in the United States, also known as the master’s cap. The remaining 65,000 visas are available to those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and those that were not initially selected in the master’s cap lottery.

A few weeks ago, USCIS began issuing receipt notices to petitions selected in the lottery. Petitions not selected in the lottery will be rejected and returned to petitioners with their filing fees over the coming weeks.  Next year’s H-1B cap will open on April 1, 2018, for petitions filed with Oct. 1, 2018, start dates.  Companies will be unable to file new H-1B petitions until next year’s cap opens.  Please note that USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions for H-1B extensions, change of employers, or amendments as they are not counted towards the cap.

In addition to the recent H-1B lottery, on April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Buy American, Hire American” in Kenosha, Wisconsin while visiting the headquarters of Snap-On Tools.

The stated focus of the Executive Order is two-fold: (1) to protect the American economy by encouraging the U.S. government and agencies to concentrate on purchasing goods, products, and materials made in America; and (2) to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States by rigorously enforcing and administering laws governing entry into the United States by workers from abroad.

From an immigration perspective, the “Hire American” prong of the Executive Order focuses on reviewing current U.S. immigration laws. Specifically, the Executive Order requires the U.S. Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security to suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the “most-skilled” and “highest-paid” beneficiaries.

The Executive Order reflects the new administration’s desire to move toward reforms of the H-1B program, but there will be no immediate changes to H-1B program. The Executive Order is vague and does not provide specific timelines for action on the “Hire American” prong. Further, any significant changes to the H-1B program would likely require legislative action. Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the changes and impacts of this Executive Order.

Greenberg Traurig’s Mark Clayton Speaks About the Upcoming IAGA Conference Agenda

Posted in Events, Gaming

“Our 2017 program agenda focuses on critical issues facing gaming, with the discussions benefitting from the deep experience of our international panelists,” said Mark Clayton, a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig and co-chair of the International Gaming Summit committee. “As gaming continues to expand globally, staying abreast of critical issues like the latest anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention initiatives or the challenges faced by operators when evaluating player data and data privacy protections is critical to operating successfully in our diverse and changing industry.”

To access the full article, please click here: “The International Association of Gaming Advisors heads to NYC” (G3 Newswire, May 2017)

For more information about the International Association of Gaming Advisors, please click here.

Greenberg Traurig Advises on Hard Rock Cafe Purchase of Trump Taj Mahal Casino

Posted in Casinos, Gaming, Hotels

With Greenberg’s help, Hard Rock International and two partners closed on the joint-venture deal on March 31—a venture that local officials are hoping will lead to an economic rebirth in the region and give other investors a reason to return to Atlantic City.

“This is the first significant investment in Atlantic City by a new casino operator and it has provided Atlantic City with a boost that I don’t believe it has had before,” said Greenberg Traurig shareholder Lorne Cantor, who as co-chairman of the firm’s gaming and Miami corporate and securities practices led the team representing Hard Rock in the deal. “It’s a big boost for the region and it’s a great sign that hard rock has confidence in the market. They also believe that they are bringing a new and exciting concept to Atlantic City and they will be able to excite the market.”

Continue Reading.

Ninth Circuit Widens Circuit Split on Whether Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Whistleblowing

Posted in GT Alert, SEC, Whistleblower

Introduction

On March 8, 2017, in Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc., No.15-cv-17352 (9th Cir., March 8, 2017), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss a whistleblower claim brought under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (“DFA”)’s anti-retaliation provision.

In a 2-1 decision, the majority endorsed the approach of the Second Circuit, and not that of the Fifth Circuit, in holding that Congress did not intend to limit DFA whistleblower protections to only those who disclose information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Rather, the court held that the DFA anti-retaliation provision also protects those who are fired after making internal disclosures of allegedly unlawful activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) and other securities laws, rules, and regulations.

Continue Reading.

Update on Pending Nevada Legislation to Redefine a Gaming Device Manufacturer

Posted in Gaming, Nevada, Nevada Gaming Commission

As previously reported, Assembly Bill 75 would amend what is considered “manufactur[ing]” under the Nevada Gaming Control Act. The proposed amendment would narrow the scope of developers involved in the gaming device manufacturing process that would need to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission as “manufacturers.” Assembly Bill 75 has passed the Nevada Assembly and has been referred to the Nevada Senate Committee of the Judiciary for consideration.

To receive updates on this bill and other related information, please subscribe to our blog.

The Senate Narrows Employers’ Obligation to Accurately Record Work-Related Injury and Illness Records

Posted in Government, GT Alert

On March 22, 2017, the Senate passed H.J. Resolution 83, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution (Resolution) that cuts the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) ability to cite an employer for failing to accurately record work-related injuries and illnesses from five years to six months.1 The resolution blocks and eliminates OSHA’s “Volks” final rule, also known as “Clarification of an Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” (Final Rule). The Final Rule, which went into effect Jan. 19, 2017, gave OSHA the authority to fine and cite employers that failed to accurately track and record work-related injuries and illnesses for up to five years after they occur.

If President Trump signs the resolution (which he is expected to do), OSHA will only be permitted to cite employers for failing to keep accurate records of workplace incidents up to six months after the recordkeeping violation occurred. OSHA will also be barred from passing a substantially similar measure; Congress must pass a law instead, which is usually a more difficult process.

Continue Reading.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board Recommences Testing Gaming Technology

Posted in Gaming

In 2013, the Nevada Legislature authorized independent test labs (ITL) registered with the Nevada Gaming Commission to test gambling games and gaming technology that would be used in Nevada for compliance with the Nevada regulatory requirements.

Effective April 1, 2017, manufacturers may request either the Nevada Gaming Control Board (Board) Technology Division or a registered ITL to test new associated equipment, cashless wagering systems, mobile gaming systems, interactive gaming systems, or gaming devices. Manufacturers continue to be required to obtain ITL inspection and certification for any new gambling games and/or routine modifications to any of the foregoing types of gaming technology or to gambling games.

The industry notice is available at http://gaming.nv.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=11963.

If there are any questions, please contact Mark A. Clayton, Co-Chair of the Greenberg Traurig Global Gaming Practice Group, (702) 599-8006, claytonm@gtlaw.com or Erica L. Okerberg, Associate, (702) 599-8073, okerberge@gtlaw.com.

Proposed Nevada Legislation to Redefine a Gaming Device Manufacturer

Posted in Gaming, Nevada, Nevada Gaming Commission

On April 3, 2017, the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee passed Assembly Bill 75 (2017), which would, among other amendments, amend the current definition of who is a “manufacturer” of a gaming device, cashless wagering system, mobile gaming system, or interactive gaming system for use or play in Nevada.

Currently, as defined, an entity that manufactures at least two elements of a gaming device is considered a manufacturer and must be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

A.B. 75 would amend the existing law and provide that if a manufacturer licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission “assumes responsibility” for the work of a third party manufacturer, such third party manufacturer would not need to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Also, A.B. 75 would provide that an independent contractor who designs, develops, programs, produces, or composes a control program for use in a gaming device is not required to be licensed as a manufacturer under the Nevada Gaming Control Act if a manufacturer licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission “assumes responsibility” of the control program.

“Assumes responsibility” would be defined as (i) “acquires complete control over, or ownership of, the applicable gaming device, associated equipment, cashless wagering system, mobile gaming system or interactive gaming system” and (ii) “accepts continuing legal responsibility for the gaming device, associated equipment, cashless wagering system, mobile gaming system or interactive gaming system, including, without limitation, any form of manufacture performed by an affiliate or independent contractor.”

As A.B. 75 progresses through the Nevada Legislature, we will provide periodic updates as warranted.

In the interim, if there are any questions, please contact Mark A. Clayton, Co-Chair of the Greenberg Traurig Global Gaming Practice Group, (702) 599-8006, claytonm@gtlaw.com or Erica L. Okerberg, Associate, (702) 599-8073, okerberge@gtlaw.com.

Effective April 3, 2017, USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

Posted in Immigration

Late Friday evening on March 3, 2017, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it will temporarily suspend its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions, including CAP-subject H-1B petitions.  The temporary suspension will begin on Monday, April 3, 2017, and may continue for up to 6 months.  This procedural change is intended to help USCIS clear the backlog of long-pending H-1B petitions that USCIS has not yet reviewed. USCIS will give priority review to H-1B extension petitions that are nearing the end of the automatic 240-day work authorization extension period.  USCIS has made other efforts to alleviate the long-pending backlog of pending H-1B petitions with the Vermont and California Service Centers by directing petitioners to submit H-1B extension requests with the Nebraska Service Center, regardless of the H-1B worksite location.

USCIS will process all H-1B petitions filed with a premium processing request that are received before April 3, 2017.  Because April 3 marks the first business day of April, when the H-1B CAP opens, CAP-subject H-1B petitions will not be eligible for premium processing.

Continue Reading.

LexBlog