Las Vegas Embraces Esports

Nick Wooldrige, Esq is a nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney based in Nevada. For a personal consultation, you can reach out to him via LV Criminal Defense, 520 S 4th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 702-623-6362.

Bookies in Las Vegas may be salivating a little right now, and  not because of memories of last week’s Thanksgiving turkey.

Betting on eSports in Nevada may start in a few weeks since the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee has suggested Nevada’s state regulatory bodies permit companies to take bets.

“In my conversations, I  feel we possess the organizational infrastructure and won’t require a change in legislation to make this happen,” said Governor Brian Sandoval, the NGPC chairman.

The group approved a referendum telling the Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission to move ahead with regulation development. “It is a thing the board has examined. It’s not-problematic and is proper from a gaming perspective,” said Sandoval.

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Botched High School Football Officiating Teaches Tough Lesson That Sometimes The Law Is Simply Not Fair

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

Students of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois learned a tough lesson last week — sometimes the law isn’t fair.

That is exactly what Illinois High School Association (IHSA) attorney David Bressler explained after a Cook County judge refused to grant Fenwick a temporary restraining order and overturn the controversial outcome of a recent IHSA playoff game.

By all accounts the officials clearly botched the ending of the 7a Semi-final playoff game between Fenwick and Plainfield North high schools. Fenwick was up 10-7 late in the 4th quarter. Rather than punt on fourth down with mere seconds left and risk “the DeSean Jackson play,” Fenwick decided to run out the clock with one last play. The QB took the snap and launched an incomplete pass deep downfield as time expired while the ball hung in the air. The officials flagged Fenwick for intentional grounding because there wasn’t a receiver in the area and awarded Plainfield North an un-timed down. Plainfield tied up the game with a field goal sending the game to overtime where they eventually won on a gutsy two-point conversion 18-17.

After the game, however, the IHSA immediately acknowledged the game-official’s mistake explaining Plainfield should not have received the un-timed down and Fenwick should have won 10-7. Yet the IHSA also explained that they are unable to reverse the outcome on appeal because of by-law 6.033 which states that “the decisions of game officials shall be final; protests against the decision of a game official shall not be reviewed by the Board of Directors.”

Fenwick, obviously angered by this miscarriage of justice, sought the court’s help to remedy the situation, but to no avail.

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Steve Silver To Present At SRLA Conference

Legal Blitz Co-Founder, Steve Silver, is teaming up with frequent Legal Blitz contributor and Coastal Carolina University sports management professor, Amanda Siegrist, to continue his quest of  educating others about college athletes’ due process rights. This time, Silver and Siegrist will have the opportunity to speak at the annual Sports and Recreation Law Association conference in Las Vegas.

Titled, “Thirty Years Later: A Review of Tarkanian, the Supreme Court and the NCAA’s Denial of Due Process,” this presentation will provide an introduction to the concept of due process under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and explain how American law views due process rights in the context of intercollegiate athletics. By examining the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) deliberate decision to forego due process against the advice of its own general counsel, the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case NCAA v. Tarkanian (1988), and recent disciplinary actions against athletes, this presentation will highlight how the NCAA has deprived college athletes of Constitutional rights in the nearly thirty years since the Supreme Court declared that the NCAA was not a state actor. Further, it will explore potential changes to how the NCAA approaches due process in light of recent litigation and scrutiny of the organization’s disciplinary procedures.

If you are in Vegas March 1-4, be sure to stop by!

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Local Government Makes Operating Stadiums In Philadelphia Much More Expensive

As more cities reach the harsh realization that public financing for sports venues is always a losing proposition for taxpayers, Philadelphia has now passed a bill aimed at recouping some its money via mandated higher wages at stadiums and arenas.

This week, Philadelphia City Council unanimously voted to expand prevailing wage laws to employees or contractors working in “city-subsidized” buildings such as the convention center, hospitals, and stadiums. This also includes many university buildings. The bill will raise the average wage for service workers, such as security guards or janitors, by several dollars an hour.

Per the language of the bill, the following workers will soon see pay raises: “watchman, guard, doorperson, building cleaner, janitor, custodian, porter, maintenance person, handyperson, elevator operator or starter, window cleaner, desk clerk, housekeeper, gardener, [and] groundskeeper and cleaner of public property or the public right-of-way.”

What makes this new law particularly interesting is that Philadelphia was already one of the few municipalities in the country with a prevailing wage law for building services workers. Now, however, more properties and facilities will fall under the purview of a mandatory wage.

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Only Thing Amateur About Track and Field in the 2016 Olympics are the Fans’ Understanding of the Rules

By Nicole Leach, Esq., who is a lawyer and former UCLA track star. In 2006, while a student-athlete at UCLA, Leach earned gold on the World Junior 4×400 relay team in Beijing. In 2007 she was the NCAA 400m hurdle champion and represented the US at the World Championships and earned two bronze medals at the Pan Am Games. She was an Olympic Trials qualifier in 2008 and NCAA champion again in 2009. She most recently competed in the Olympic Trials in 2016 and will soon move into legal practice in Philadelphia.

Shaunae Miller’s diving finish to beat Allyson Felix in the women’s 400m final and the US women’s 4x100m re-run have left the public perception of track and field unsound. People have taken to social media and other outlets to label Miller as a “cheater,” Felix as having “settled” and that the US 4x100m relay received “special treatment.”  An amateur fan of track and field would likely conclude that the rules of the sport are being made up on the fly.

However, Miller, Felix and all individuals involved in the 4x100m re-run have all acted well within their rights under the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Competition Rules 2016-2017 (IAAF Rules).

But why is it that these athletes are taking such a hit from the world?  Why do the outcomes of these recent events feel unfair to most? The most likely answer is that the rules of track and field are foreign to Olympic viewers.

The sport only gets global attention every four years; thus, customary occurrence such as dives and protest seem random and unfair to the seasonal Olympic fan. The world does not know or understand the rules behind the sport. Below is a break down of the rules and traditional philosophies that shed some light on why the recent “random” outcomes are not random at all.

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Lessons To Be Learned From Nakamura’s Fight For Disability Benefits

By Frank Darras, Esq. Mr. Darras is the founding partner of DarrasLaw, America’s top disability insurance litigation firm. His firm has recovered nearly $800 million in wrongfully denied insurance benefits for clients of all backgrounds and professions across the nation.

Former NFL defensive back Haruki Nakamura made recent headlines when he filed a lawsuit against Lloyd’s of London and its underwriters. While many speculate this lawsuit could influence how insurance policies deal with brain injuries, one larger aspect to this lawsuit that has been ignored.

The Nakamura lawsuit provides textbook example of how minor claim missteps can make any policyholder subject to insurance bad faith tactics, whether you are an average Joe or the next NFL star.

Nakamura’s career was cut short when he suffered a debilitating concussion during a preseason game in August 2013. The Carolina Panthers released him five days later, and he reportedly suffered debilitating concussion symptoms for months afterward. Nakamura was awarded permanent total disability benefits under the NFL’s Player Retirement Plan in 2015 after it was determined he suffered from chronic post-concussion syndrome.

Nakamura is seeking $3 million – triple the value of his career-ending disability policy – to account for damages, costs, interest, and fees.

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New Jersey Appeals Court Affirms Strong Standard For Youth Sports Tort Liability

Injuries are a part of sports. Period. End of story.

However, in America, when an injury occurs, most people look for someone else to not only blame, but to also sue. In the past two years, personal injury lawsuits arising out of youth sports injuries have crowded the New Jersey dockets.

After issuing two game-changing rulings on civil tort liability for sports injuries in 2014, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division is back at it this month in an interesting case involving youth soccer.

In G.C. v. New Jersey Youth Soccer, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1566, a 12-year-old soccer player sustained a knee injury when a 13-year-old opponent tripped him toward the end of a game. The Plaintiff, G.C. was dribbling the ball toward the goal to take a shot, when the opponent tried to steal the ball. In what sounds like a slide-tackle gone awry, T.U. injured G.C. and drew a yellow card. However, the referee testified that T.U. was making a play on the ball, but ended up kicking G.C. after the shot.

The injured child’s parents sued everyone under the sun including T.U., two other minors, the coaches, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, New Jersey Youth Soccer, Morris County Youth Soccer Association, and many others. Essentially, every entity except the soccer ball itself was named in this lawsuit. G.C.’s parents alleged general negligence along with reckless and intentional conduct warranting punitive damages.

However, the Defendants successfully moved for Summary Judgment, which G.C. then appealed. Judges Marianne Espinosa and Heidi Currier heard the appeal.

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Trump’s VP Selection Should Scare Poker Enthusiasts

We here at The Legal Blitz try to stay away from politics. However, when covering the intersection of sports, gambling, and the law, it is nearly impossible to do so. One particular issue that I have kept an eye on is internet poker.

My home state of Pennsylvania is reportedly en route to legalizing internet poker within the next few months. Although this is terrible news for my productivity, it is a smart way for the state to generate new revenue while acknowledging its residents’ desires to play poker wherever they please.

On a national level, I was encouraged to see that for the first time since 2000, the Republican Party’s Platform at the RNC did not call for a ban on internet gambling. Per Gambling Compliance this is historically significant because Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, one of the Republican Party’s most important donors, has pledged to spend “whatever it takes” to outlaw online wagering. The DNC Platform is silent on issues involving internet gaming and poker.

However, Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, should sour any hope of outright national poker legalization.

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Steve Silver Published in Journal of NCAA Compliance: NCAA Begins to Change Culture in Wake of Oliver Case

It took a lawsuit by former Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver, as well as mounting public pressure, for the NCAA to loosen its grip on banning agents in college sports.

Legal Blitz Co-Founder, Steve Silver, is often agitating the NCAA, whether testifying at legislative hearings in support of student-athlete trust funds or educating others about college athletes’ due process rights. However, this time Silver joined forces with frequent Legal Blitz contributor and Coastal Carolina University sports management professor, Amanda Siegrist, to offer an overview of the NCAA change to the “No Agent Rule” as well as practical advice for future implementation.

Silver and Siegrist’s article, “NCAA Begins to Change Culture in Wake of Oliver Case” appeared in the most recent issue of the Journal of NCAA Compliance. It can be found here.

As a bit of background, in 2009, Andy Oliver, a pitcher for Oklahoma State University Men’s Baseball team, brought significant attention to the NCAA bylaw known as the “No Agent Rule” when he filed suit against the NCAA, becoming a catalyst for major change as the NCAA’s Power Five conference abolished the rule in January as applied to high school athletes. Their article explores the relevant bylaws, addresses the importance of the recent change implemented by the Power Five conferences in the wake of growing legal and public pressure, and provides practical advice for compliance by both the student-athlete and institutions.

You can find Silver on Twitter @thelegalblitz and Prof. Siegrist @SiegristA.

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The Challenges of Funding Elite College Athlete Disability Insurance

By Frank Darras, Esq. Mr. Darras is the founding partner of DarrasLaw, America’s top disability insurance litigation firm. His firm has recovered nearly $800 million in wrongfully denied insurance benefits for clients of all backgrounds and professions across the nation.

Injuries are a fact of life for most athletes. However, the right insurance policy can make a huge difference for today's stars.

Thanks to a few high-stake lawsuits and more focused news coverage, we are finally hearing more about elite athlete insurance policies. In turn, more Division I, draft-eligible college athletes are considering the purchase of loss of value and/or permanent total disability insurance.

When language and exclusions are negotiated zealously and the policies are applied for properly, this high-stake disability insurance can provide financial security to athletes who move on to the pros or forgo the draft and return to school. However, most athletes and their respective colleges or universities face one huge obstacle: how in the world do they fund the coverage?

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