Ellen Whittemore is well known for her gaming law and regulatory practice, representing some of the world’s largest gaming companies before the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission in licensing, disciplinary, and gaming and entertainment tax matters. She also represents private equity companies investing in the gaming industry and represents many of the leading gaming technology firms engaged in interactive and social gaming.
She has represented MGM Resorts International in all of its major Nevada acquisitions and developments, including the acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group and Mirage Resorts International, and the development of CityCenter. She recently served as gaming counsel to MGM Resorts in conjunction with its REIT creation. She continues to serve as lead Nevada gaming regulatory counsel for MGM Resorts and is involved in virtually every new initiative undertaken by that company, including mobile, skill-based and e-gaming. She is the primary author of that company’s compliance plan and continues to advise its compliance committee.
She represents Z Capital Group, LLC, a leading alternative asset management firm acquiring Affinity Gaming, a publicly traded company with casinos in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Missouri. She also represented Onex Corporation, Canada’s preeminent private equity firm, in its acquisition of the Tropicana Resort, before it sold the casino in 2015. She also was lead counsel to Scientific Games Corporation in its acquisition of Bally Technologies, Inc.
With over 30 years’ experience she has been involved in a number of industry “firsts.” As a former supervising deputy attorney general representing the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission, she was lead counsel in the case that established that gaming devices could not display “near misses” to customers (leading them to believe that they were close to a win. She was also the lead author of the briefs defending the state’s decision to revoke the licenses of the Stardust owners, whose activities formed the basis for the movie “Casino”. She successfully represented MGM Resorts on the first and only hearing on the suitability of an association in a foreign jurisdiction (Macau). She also represented Dubai World, a government decree entity, the first governmental entity to receive gaming approvals in Nevada and represented Crown Resorts Limited, the first Australian casino company to be registered in Nevada. The primary author of Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 14 (Manufacturers) she represented Bally Technologies in the first approval of a skill-based component in a gaming device (“Pong”).
Ellen is frequently called on by governmental entities to assist in developing appropriate gaming regulatory schemes, serving as counsel to the City of Detroit in the drafting of city ordinances related to gaming. Prior to joining Brownstein, Ellen founded Whittemore Gaming Group in February 2014. She was previously with the Nevada law firm of Lionel Sawyer & Collins for more than 20 years. In her capacity as a supervising deputy attorney general for the Gaming Division, she is the primary author of Nevada Gaming Commission Regulations 6 (Accounting Regulations), 14 (Manufacturers, Distributors, Gaming Devices, New Games and Associated Equipment) and 26A (Off-Track Pari-Mutuel Wagering). She also successfully prosecuted individuals who were then included in the “Black Book” (the list of persons excluded from casinos).