November 29, 2022

Volume XII, Number 333

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November 29, 2022

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November 28, 2022

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Landlords, Beware! Medical Marijuana and Gaming: How Close is Too Close?

On June 12, 2013, Nevada became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana businesses. Suddenly, the country’s oldest gaming jurisdiction was grappling with a new regulated business – one that is legal under state law and illegal under federal law.

Nevada State Gaming Control Board Member Terry Johnson responded in May 2014, issuing a Notice to Licensees declaring that “…the Board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming.” The notice went on to illuminate the Board’s view that “any such investment or involvement by gaming licensees or applicants would tend to reflect discredit upon gaming in the State of Nevada.”

During its July 2014 hearing, the Board went further and made it clear that a person could not be in the gaming business if he or her spouse was in the medical marijuana business. In the Board’s view, there must be strict separation between the gaming and medical marijuana businesses.

Recently, the Board and Nevada Gaming Commission appear to have again expanded their view of relationships that could violate the “strict separation” requirement. During the August 2015 Commission hearing, Johnson stated “[w]hile the [May 2014] industry notice did talk about and may have been specifically addressed to gaming licensees and applicants, it should go without saying…that that obviously includes persons such as landlords too that might be involved in the gaming context and concurrently in the medical marijuana context.” Nevada Gaming Commission chairman Tony Alamo responded that he “totally agree[d].”

Now it appears to be more likely that landlords in the medical marijuana business who lease property to Nevada gaming licensees are going to be called forward by the Board for a finding of suitability, and Nevada gaming licensees who lease property to medical marijuana facilities may find themselves facing disciplinary action by the Board.

The Nevada gaming regulators are sending a clear message to landlords: proceed with caution.

© Copyright 2022 Dickinson Wright PLLCNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 335
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About this Author

Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher, Dickinson Wright, Las Vegas, Gaming Lawyer
Member

Ms. Lowenhar-Fisher is a leading Nevada gaming attorney who counsels many of the world’s premier gaming companies on regulatory issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, reorganizations and financings.  She has extensive experience advising clients on issues related to Internet gaming, social gaming, fantasy sports, liquor licensing, sweepstakes, contests, and promotions. She regularly represents individuals and businesses before regulatory agencies, including the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, the...

702-550-4459
Jennifer J. Gaynor, Dickinson Wright, Carson City, Gaming Attorney
Member

Jennifer Gaynor represents clients before the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nevada. She also practices before various professional and licensing boards and state and local tax authorities, and represents clients on matters involving First Amendment law, public records and open meeting law, gaming law and regulatory agency actions.

Professional Involvement

  • Nevada State Chair, CARE

  • Board Member, Nevada Preservation Foundation

  • Member,...

702-550-4462
Gregory R. Gemignani, Dickinson Wright, Intellectual Property Lawyer
Member

Greg Gemignani's practice focuses primarily on intellectual property law, gaming law, technology law, internet law, online gaming law, and online promotions law. He has represented many clients ranging from the largest casino companies to start-up internet ventures.

Professional Involvement

  • Member, International Masters of Gaming Law

  • Member, International Association of Gaming Advisors

  • Member, Technology Business Alliance of Nevada

    ...
702-550-4468
Jeffrey A. Silver, Dickinson Wright, Gaming regulatory Attorney, Nevada
Of Counsel

Mr. Silver's practice focuses on every aspect of gaming, liquor licensing and regulatory law, as well as planning and zoning matters, contractor licensing and transportation law.

Mr. Silver’s representative clients include Gaming Laboratories International, Dubai World, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Tuscany Hotel & Casino, Riverside Resort (Laughlin, NV), The Stephen Siegel Group, Grand Sierra Hotel & Casino (Reno, NV), Century Gaming Technologies, Applebee’s Restaurants, Bell Transportation, United Coin, Ryan's Express, and Casino...

702-382-1661
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