UK

London (Firms)

Licensing


Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.

Licensing - London (Firms)

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Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners (4 gambling, 1 liquor licensing)
- 12 other qualified lawyers (11 gambling, 1 liquor licensing) 

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive range of services in both the liquor and gambling spheres. Maintains its own advocacy capability concerning licensing instructions, and handles both online and bricks-and-mortar issues for gambling clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "One of the strongest firms in London with a focus on and in-depth experience of the gaming sphere."

Value for money: "Excellent: good value for money and the breadth of services makes it an easy one-stop shop."

Work highlights Represented Tesco in a licensing hearing concerning a new Express store in a Romford cumulative impact zone. 

Acted for London's Hippodrome Casino on ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements prior to its summer 2012 opening. Related transactional issues and the securing of a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence for certain attractions were also handled.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Baylis heads the licensing department and is widely respected and recommended by both clients and fellow practitioners. One source characterises him as "exceptional: diligent, efficient and highly effective," adding that "he has an entrepreneurial, commercial approach, takes enough time to understand what is needed and then combines sound legal practice with good management to produce the best result." Baylis recently secured licences for London's new St James Theatre. 

Jeremy Bark is an associate director of the betting and gaming group, and is recognised for his prominent profile in the field. He acted for Tesco on the Romford matter and successfully defended the licence of another of the company's branches in a review. He also advised lottery games creator Roboreus on its application to the Gambling Commission for an operating licence and on other regulatory requirements. 

Significant clients Corney & Barrow, Gamesys, Marriott Hotels, Playtech, T.G.I. Friday's.

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 1 other qualified lawyer

What the team is known for London-focused coverage of all licensable activities for pubs, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions and sexual entertainment venues.

Work highlights Handled numerous successful licence applications for the Wagamama restaurant chain.

Acted on a sexual entertainment venue licence application for Camden lap dancing pub The Griffin.

Notable practitioners  

Kevin Jackaman is a key contact here.

Significant clients Bill’s Restaurants, Cote Restaurants, Sheraton Group of Hotels, London Eye, Urban Leisure.

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 6 associates
- 2 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Specialised gaming expertise with a strong emphasis on online systems and the handling of regulatory issues. Combines advice on gambling, IP, IT and media matters, co-ordinated across the firm's global network.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Their knowledge stretches throughout the industry: they're 100% into it and up there among the best."

International capability: "A truly international practice with a vision of where the industry's going." 

Work highlights Advised Playtech on the regulatory aspects of its move to the London Stock Exchange main market.

Acted for Colossus Bets at every stage of its entry to the UK's real-money gambling environment, co-ordinating advice on commercial, contractual, IP and regulatory aspects.

Notable practitioners  

Hilary Stewart-Jones heads the group and acted as lead partner on the Playtech matter. She is universally acclaimed by clients and peers as "one of the pre-eminent regulatory lawyers" in this space, and is described as "pragmatic, commercial and steeped in the history of the industry" and as "a standout who can think as an operator or entrepreneur and is truly connected worldwide."   

Stephen Ketteley attracts strong praise as a "recognised industry expert with genuine expertise" and a "pragmatic, solutions-focused" practitioner. He is also identified for his strong handle on gaming regulation in the UK and other jurisdictions, and acted as lead partner for Colossus Bets on its entry to the UK's real-money gambling environment.  

Significant clients Aspinalls, British Horseracing Authority, Inspired Gaming, Gamesys, SportingBet.

Basic facts about the department
-6 qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for A boutique specialising in acting for clients in the gambling and leisure industries on corporate, commercial and regulatory issues. Maintains strong international – particularly American – links through membership of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "Leaders in their field and our first port of call for difficult regulatory issues."

Responsiveness: "Up to speed and out of the traps quickly."  

Work highlights Acts for the Aspers Group on all gambling law requirements, including handling a successful application for the Milton Keynes large casino licence.

Advised computerised gaming systems company IGT on European gambling law and regulatory aspects of its USD500 million acquisition of DoubleDown Interactive. 

Notable practitioners  

Senior partner John Hagan is effusively praised by commentators for his "breadth of knowledge and experience in the gambling industry," his "detailed knowledge of gambling regulation" and his ability "to provide concise, pragmatic and solutions-driven advice." His blend of "sound technical ability" and "strong commercial knowledge" also draws favourable comment.  

Managing partner Julian Harris has over 25 years of gambling law experience and is highlighted for his "focused and knowledgeable" approach. Sources widely agree that he is amongst the top lawyers in this practice area, and praise his understanding of regulatory matters.  

Consultant Elizabeth Southorn handles liquor licensing and entertainment matters, and acts for some of London's most prestigious venues, including The Shard and the Royal Opera House. One client enthusiastically praised "her impressive knowledge of licensing law, excellent communication style and ability to pre-empt queries." 

Significant clients BUK Gaming, Genting Alderney, Ladbrokes, Les Ambassadeurs Club, Southbank Centre. 

Basic facts about the department
- 6 directors
- 1 barrister
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strong liquor and entertainment licensing experience. Although a London focus dominates, the team offers a nationwide reach and built-in advocacy capability. Comprehensive coverage of land-based and online gambling law issues, with particular strength on the regulatory side. Offers an extensive network of international contacts.

Work highlights Advised London Edition on the licensing aspects of the redevelopment and opening of its Marriott Edition Hotel in London.

Successfully acted for chef and restaurateur Mark Hix and Lovell Consulting in an appeal against a Hackney Council decision to refuse a licensing application sought for The Tramshed restaurant in Shoreditch.

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Nocton leads the gambling practice. He is characterised as a "switched-on and approachable" practitioner at the top of his profession to whom peers will happily refer clients in the event of a conflict.   

Julian Skeens heads the licensing practice and is widely recommended as "the leading individual on the on-licence side." He acted as one of the lead partners in the Edition Hotel matter and is also noted for his knowledge of the law governing the licensing of sexual entertainment venues.   

Consultant Tony Coles is an internationally recognised name in the gambling field. He is strongly recommended for his "high-quality, personable and dependable" approach.   

Andrew Wong is best known for representing some of London's most prestigious venues in licensing matters, from museums and art galleries to restaurants and hotels. He has recently acted for Hakkasan, helping to secure late licences for its HKK and Chrysan restaurants. 

Barrister Gareth Hughes has specialised in licensing law for some 20 years and is most experienced in licensing matters falling under the remit of Westminster City Council. He acted for the organisers of the Clapham Weekender dance festival in successfully securing extended hours, augmented capacity and increased sound levels despite strong objections. 

Significant clients Piers Adam, W Hotel, Starwood, Royal Albert Hall, Ministry of Sound.

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 1 barrister 

What the team is known for Acting on liquor and entertainment licensing and gambling matters for clients across England and Wales. Tackles a comprehensive range of interrelated corporate, commercial, employment and property issues for the leisure industry as a whole. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Extensive knowledge and reliable advice." 

Market standing: "The highest standard of licensing advice available."

Work highlights Acts on all licensing and regulatory matters for the City Pub Company, an expanding chain with many premises in sensitive residential or culturally significant areas.

Represented Solo Promoters in successfully resisting a strongly supported application to review the licence of the Isle of Wight festival.

Notable practitioners  

David Clifton heads the department and acted as lead partner for Solo Promoters on successfully resisting a review of the licence for the Isle of Wight Festival. He is widely respected in the licensing sphere, being both popular amongst clients and respected as "a formidable opponent" by peers. 

Suzanne Davies is a well-known gambling specialist with a considerable reputation in land-based operations. Along with David Clifton she acts on gambling, licensing and regulatory issues for Grosvenor Casinos.  

Significant clients Odeon Cinemas, Secrets, London Clubs International, Grosvenor Casinos, Le Pain Quotidien.

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Worldwide reach and particularly well-developed expertise in handling online gaming matters across numerous jurisdictions. Also provides assistance with gaming-related lobbying activities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We've stuck with them because they have the right expertise, provide robust legal advice and price competitively."

International capability: Sources compliment the firm on its extensive international network.

Work highlights Acted for MyLotto24 on the contractual, commercial, IP and taxation aspects of its creation of the Arsenal Lotto game in association with Arsenal Football Club.

Advised American gaming platform Betable on the creation of its business-to-business arm, including corporate, contractual and regulatory issues.

Notable practitioners  

Warren Phelops heads the department.

Significant clients Betfair, Arena Leisure, Sportech, European Sponsorship Association, PA Sport.   

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Comprehensive coverage of betting and gaming issues for clients in both the online and offline sectors, with a strong emphasis on corporate, technological and IP issues. Also noted for its representation of clients before regulatory authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "On a par with the best in terms of their knowledge and service delivery."

Client service: "A good collegiate atmosphere within the firm is carried over into its client service."

Work highlights Represented technology solutions provider Fresh8 Gaming in negotiations over a proposed licensing arrangement with Ladbrokes.

Acted for Tottenham Hotspur on sponsorship arrangements with several providers of online gaming services.

Notable practitioners  

Susan Breen impresses with her industry knowledge and experience of gambling issues across international jurisdictions. Sources also draw attention to her crucial ability to "ask questions that are incisive and commercial." "We trust Susan implicitly," one remarks, adding: "She gets things done and has a great team behind her."

Significant clients PKR.com, 188bet.com, Argento Gaming, Tailorbet, Fresh8 Gaming.

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Coverage of all issues affecting gambling businesses across Europe, plus a notable specialisation in matters concerning the British horse racing industry. Wider expertise in the media and technology sectors strongly supports the team's handling of remote gaming issues.

Work highlights Acts as the principal provider of commercial and regulatory advice to Sportech.

Advised William Hill on the judicial review of a Horserace Betting Levy Board decision affecting business users of betting exchanges.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head David Zeffman receives extensively positive comment from both clients and peers. His clients include Sportech and William Hill.    

Significant clients Gamesys, Asian Logic, Sporting Index, Paddy Power, WMS.

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 3 associates

What the team is known for Advises clients in both the online and bricks-and-mortar spaces on all betting and gaming issues. Able to cover matters arising across all UK jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "We use them for high-end matters: they have a good knowledge bank in the gaming sphere and are always ready to bring in specialists in specific areas."

Commercial awareness: "They are by far the most commercially minded firm I have used. They understand business, not just the legal technicalities."

Work highlights Advised William Hill on the expansion of its online casino business into the Spanish and Italian markets, and on the supply of new technology to its UK betting offices.

Acted for financial market spread betting provider London Capital Group Holdings on the development of a new platform.

Notable practitioners  

Susan Biddle heads the London practice and has some 20 years' experience of both land-based and remote gambling matters. She is admired for her sharp mind, deep industry knowledge and sensitivity to commercial requirements, but attracts most comment for her "detailed scrutiny and understanding" of complex documentation and her exceptional diligence. As one client observes: "I have never known her miss even the shortest of deadlines, nor encountered any dispute over her interpretation of a contract."    

Significant clients Gala Coral Group, Genting Casinos, Paddy Power, Grosvenor Casinos, Mecca Bingo. 

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Provides specialist alcohol and entertainment licensing, gambling and related planning and regulatory advice to a predominantly London-based clientele. Represents some of the capital's best-known and most prestigious bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "A well-connected practice with a good West End client base, doing a fantastic job."

Work highlights Acted for Robin Birley on the licensing of his 5 Hertford Street private club in Shepherd Market, including obtaining a licence to operate until 3 am and associated planning permission. 

Advised the French burlesque show Crazy Horse on all licensing aspects of its autumn and winter season on London's South Bank.

Notable practitioners  

Firm co-founder Alun Thomas has over 20 years' licensing experience and was lead lawyer on the 5 Hertford Street matter. Sources describe him as an excellent practitioner who builds a "supportive rapport with clients" and has a flair for "dealing with tricky matters." His knowledge of the applications of licensing law to the Soho nightlife scene is singled out for special comment.  

Firm co-founder Thomas O'Maoileoin is highly regarded across a wide range of licensing and related planning issues. One source comments that he maintains their "absolute confidence."

Significant clients Café Royal, The Groucho Club, Institute of Directors, The Jamie Oliver Foundation, Stringfellows.

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Able to utilise the firm's extensive media law expertise to advise online and electronic gambling providers, TV and other media companies on issues arising from gambling, social gaming and other similar enterprises.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Wiggin is very responsive and, valuably, also has very good judgement in terms of the level of detail required."

Client service: "They give comprehensive, good-quality advice and are always willing to be flexible with regard to cost structure."

Work highlights Advised GTECH G2/Lottomatica on the regulatory and technological aspects of the provision of a new gambling platform to the Greek state gambling monopoly.

Represented PokerStars in its establishment of independent player deposit protection trusts for the company's customers.

Notable practitioners  

Jason Chess specialises in electronic betting and gaming, and led on the GTECH G2/Lottomatica matter. Sources characterise him as a "highly respected lawyer who is really making a name for himself in high-profile matters." Clients also highlight his "willingness to get to know our business" and his ability to "give comprehensive and appropriate advice within a short timescale."  

Significant clients IGT, Barcrest, William Hill Gaming, NetPlay TV, Fremantle Media.

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

Grant Gordon leads Fladgate LLP's betting and gaming practice and is noted for his extensive experience of cross-border corporate work and his knowledge of gaming technology. 

James Daglish directs Goodman Derrick LLP's licensing practice, which represents pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels. He is acclaimed not only for his ability to "address the problems you're considering and give an objective view," but also for his "diligent, intelligent and strategically superb" performances.     

Peter Wilson heads niche regulatory boutique Peter Wilson Legal and is widely respected as an experienced, "dyed-in-the-wool gambling lawyer." His eminence in the field is reflected in his position as chairman of the Society for the Study of Gambling. 

Clare Eames leads Poppleston Allen's London licensing practice and is praised by clients for a wide range of sterling qualities, including her "knowledge and understanding of the industry, the relevant legislation and the enforcement agencies." One interviewee praises her "fantastic proactivity and customer focus," which "make her brilliant to work with." Eames acted for Masterpiece Antiques on the complex licensing arrangements for its annual fair at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.  

Lisa Inzani of Poppleston Allen is well regarded for her understanding of the characteristics of the various London licensing authorities, including Westminster City Council. She attracts special praise for "looking after clients brilliantly, holding their hand all the way."

Carl Rohsler is head of Squire Sanders's gambling practice. Commentators characterise him as an "energetic, candid and eloquent guy who gets to the bottom of things very quickly," and single him out for his "vast knowledge and expertise in UK and EU gaming law." He acted as lead partner advising Caesars Entertainment on sponsorship, brand sharing and licensing arrangements with French casino group Lucien Barrière. 

Robert Botkai heads the liquor licensing practice at Winckworth Sherwood. He is highly respected for his expertise, particularly concerning supermarket licensing and off-licences. He acts extensively for Sainsbury's, and advised Rontec on the licensing of its newly acquired portfolio of 450 Total service stations.

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.