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Casinos and the Law

Olia Wall, Legal Counsel and Head of Regulatory Compliance, Eclipse Gaming Systems

Casinos and the Law

Olia Wall has always had a fascination with gaming, even before she got into her chosen profession of law. She feels fortunate to be able to take that interest and combine it with the legal profession as Eclipse Gaming’s legal counsel and head of regulatory compliance.

“I have been drawn to the world of casino gaming from a young age—my high school senior project was on the history of Las Vegas,” Wall says.

“However, I began seriously considering the field as a possible direction for my career after my first year of law school. I spent the summer working as a judicial intern in the Atlantic County Court System in Atlantic City, New Jersey by day, and as a bartender at Bally’s Casino on the Boardwalk by night. There was never a dull moment, and the intersection of risk management and entertainment was very compelling for me as a future attorney.”

Wall’s life now is equally exciting, if not challenging. She has many responsibilities for Eclipse.

“I manage complex regulatory systems in over 65 tribal gaming jurisdictions and 10 states on a regular basis,” Wall says. “I conduct due diligence for possible transactions and new jurisdictions, and I counsel the executive team on best practices for compliance and risk management. Additionally, I oversee the company IP strategy and portfolio, draft and negotiate the company’s contracts, and step into whatever legal need Eclipse has.”

Finding the right balance is crucial, Wall says.

“Since I cover a wide range of responsibilities at Eclipse, my biggest ongoing challenge is time management and finding efficient ways to get it all done. Balancing risk and business goals is also something I put a lot of thought into, as well as keeping up with ever-changing regulatory and legal standards.”

Wall says working with so many tribal entities can definitely be tricky.

“The most difficult part of working with tribal entities is that they all have their own ways of doing things,” Wall says. “So, just because you understand the compliance and licensing processes for one tribe does not mean that other tribes will follow the same approach. Timelines, standards and expectations all vary between tribal jurisdictions, and moreover, can change at any time without much notice. That said, the individuals working for tribes have in my experience been kind, understanding and fair, which makes all of the complexities much easier to deal with.”

One has to know what the client’s goal is and to give them advice to achieve that objective.

“As an attorney, it can be tempting to advise clients to take the safest and most risk-averse route, but an industry like gaming is inherently risky, so you need to be able to understand the goals of the client or company before assessing what the right course of action is,” Wall says. “I think it has helped my career to understand the business side of the company I work for, rather than waiting around to be approached for help with an issue that may have been able to be prevented.”

Wall says she has also had the benefit of people who mentored her, and it certainly made the process easier.

“I am lucky to have fostered some wonderful relationships over the course of my career thus far, and have multiple people I am proud to call my mentors,” she says. “Keeping up relationships with the people I’ve worked well with in the past has opened up many doors and given me trusted confidants that I can reach out to whenever I am in need of some advice or a listening ear.

“I’m very involved with professional organizations for attorneys such as the American Bar Association and the Georgia Bar Association, which has been a great way to maintain contact with some of my mentors and has given me opportunities to mentor young law students and new lawyers.”