Firm Profile > Harris Hagan > London, England

Harris Hagan

Gaming and betting Tier 1

A specialist licencing and regulatory firm, Harris Hagan is described as ‘without a doubt, the premier gaming and betting practice in the UK’. The practice is led by Julian Harris and John Hagan  - the duo are 'acknowledged leading practitioners in this field' and have impressive experience of advising some of the most significant land-based and online gambling clients on licence applications, compliance issues and commission investigations. Bahar Alaeddini advises numerous start-ups, and is frequently instructed by other leading law firms, private equity firms and large banks to provide specialist licencing and regulatory expertise in respect of corporate investments and transactions. Alongside regulatory work, the team also provides training in relation to anti-money laundering, social responsibility and gambling advertising. The team also includes former DLA Piper gambling co-head Hilary Stewart-Jones, who joined as a consultant in 2018.

Practice head(s):


‘Clear, practical advice from enthusiastic people who know the industry inside-out. Harris Hagan are truly leaders in this space.’

‘Julian Harris is a heavyweight veteran in the field.’

‘John Hagan is a great networker who brings people together to make things happen.’

‘Bahar Alaeddini is clear-minded, has a calm disposition and is delightful to work with.’

‘David Whyte is experienced from his background at the UK Gambling Commission and is also a pleasure to work with.’

‘Harris Hagan are specialists who have a long history of legal assistance, advice and guidance to the gaming industry. They have a broad cross-section of talent within their team and work hard to ensure that they give up to date advice on the constantly moving and often political application of regulation in this area.’

‘Bahar Alaeddini is a focused and common-sense lawyer who excels in the regulatory law field, being able to confidently analyse a given set of circumstances and give straight forward advice.’

‘John Hagan and Julian Harris are two of the most senior lawyers working in this field and they have an international perspective which is essential in the modern business world. 

‘Every team member I have worked with at Harris Hagan has provided a professional and yet personal service. I would never go elsewhere.’

‘Hilary Stewart-Jones is amazing. There’s really nothing more I can say – she is awesome at her job. Very reasonable. Very thoughtful. And always trying to find ways to help us without overcharging.’

‘A good lawyer always has the best interests of their clients ahead of anything else. This is Harris Hagan in a nutshell.’

‘Harris Hagan is, without a doubt, the premier gaming and betting practice in the UK. The firm works as an effective team covering not only all aspects of licencing (including regulatory investigations and individual licencing) but also provides hands-on assistance with training, development of compliance programmes and governance structures which respond to regulatory requirements and offers clear, operational advice. It has a strong M&A ability for relevant companies and is knowledgeable and informative about industry changes, changing regulatory emphasis, and industry initiatives. It works effectively with regulators and other stakeholders.’

‘Julian Harris and John Hagan are acknowledged leading practitioners in the field. They fight for their clients unceasingly and, beside their supreme industry knowledge have a deep understanding of how gaming and betting businesses work and are adept at tailoring their advice to ensure that companies, of all sizes, receive appropriate guidance, reflective of organisational limitations. In a complex industry, governed by regulation, codes of practice, and regulatory guidance, Julian and John are always focused on outcome and can always be relied upon to provide consistent and detailed advice which is always capable of implementation – they make it one of their priorities to understand internal organisation and capabilities. They are courageous in their approach to issues: they maintain a clear sense of what is right and what course of action will protect licences and businesses and also maintain a straightforward and firm approach in dealing with regulators.’


Harris Hagan is the only specialist gambling and leisure law firm in the City of London.

The firm: ‘Absolutely the number one betting and gaming firm’ Harris Hagan is the only specialist gambling law firm in the City of London. The firm was established in 2004 and is driven by the long-term sustainability and success of the gambling and leisure industries it cherishes. Harris Hagan has the largest dedicated gambling legal and regulatory team in the UK. The firm offers unparalleled legal experience, knowledge and commercial understanding of the gambling industry. Harris Hagan understands not only the law associated with betting, gaming and lotteries, but the businesses behind it. It anticipates its clients’ compliance needs and provides pragmatic, commercial advice informed by a deep understanding of the gambling industry and the legal, political and regulatory environment. Harris Hagan does everything it can for its clients to achieve the best possible commercial, licensing and regulatory outcomes, drawing upon all our expertise and experience.

The firm’s business is gambling law, compliance and regulation. Harris Hagan views itself as a business within the gambling industry, which happens to be a law firm, rather than external advisors to the gambling industry. The firm’s future success and sustainability are inextricably intertwined with that of the gambling industry.

Harris Hagan’s clients’ needs are always at the heart of what it does. The firm achieves solutions to its short- term regulatory issues, whilst never losing sight of its longer-term reputation and commercial interests. This philosophy has allowed it to grow the firm into the largest dedicated gambling legal and regulatory team in UK private practice. Many of the world’s largest international gambling businesses rely on the firm to help them make the right decisions in a fast-changing and challenging gambling legal, regulatory and political environment. Harris Hagan combines expertise, experience and enthusiasm to solve its clients’ most complex challenges, wherever and whenever they arise.

The firm has a longstanding commitment to the industry, both operators and regulators, in the development of gambling law, legislative and regulatory policy and compliance through its work with the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA), the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), Gamcare and International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL).

Work: The firm has unprecedented licensing experience having made an unequalled number of licence applications over many years to the Gambling Commission and its predecessor the Gaming Board for Great Britain for gambling licences for land-based and online clients. In particular, the firm is noted for its pre-eminence in advising on highly complex regulatory issues, including numerous Gambling Commission regulatory compliance and enforcement investigations and regulatory settlements. Advising leading gambling businesses on gambling licensing, regulation, compliance and enforcement is what we do all day, every day. Harris Hagan is heavily engaged in helping its clients to achieve licensing and regulatory compliance, and it defend its clients from regulatory enforcement action wherever necessary.

The firm is regularly engaged as part of mergers and acquisitions in the sector and advises on a wide range of commercial contracts. The firm has also advised overseas regulatory authorities and governments on the regulation of gambling and assisted with draft legislation.

Harris Hagan goes above and beyond pure legal advice by providing supplementary services to clients to assist them with staying abreast of legal and regulatory developments and priorities. The firm offers various training services with the aim of ensuring that personal licence holders, other key staff or a gambling business’ Board or Compliance Committee, understand the obligations and responsibilities that come with being licensed by the Gambling Commission.

International: Harris Hagan has an international reputation as trusted advisors to many of the world’s largest gambling and leisure operators and suppliers in all areas of land-based and online gambling, many of whom are listed on the London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange. The firm’s ability to provide a full service to the industry, together with its first-class track record, has been evidenced by the acquisition of major new international clients and the firm has been instructed on a number of important cross-border corporate and commercial transactions.

The firm’s lawyers speak regularly at international conferences and frequently contribute to specialist publications, including as editors of the Chambers Global Guide to Gaming Law. Julian Harris is a Past President of IAGA. John Hagan is Deputy Chairman of GamCare, former Chairman of IGRG and President of IAGA. Bahar Alaeddini is a member of IAGA and Global Gaming Women. Hilary Stewart-Jones is a member of IMGL and contributor to Smith and Monkcom: The Law of Gambling (Fourth Edition).

Clients: Harris Hagan’s clients include online gambling operators and suppliers, games developers, casinos, bookmakers, gambling equipment manufacturers, affiliates, social gaming operators, eSports operators, payment processors, start-ups, investors, financial institutions, charities, law firms and governmental organisations. The firm is frequently instructed by other leading City and overseas law firms and private equity firms, to provide specialist gambling and leisure expertise in relation to corporate transactions. The firm also undertakes licensing work for casinos, hotels, restaurants and bars.

Harris Hagan is committed to the continuous development of its core gambling practice whilst remaining at the forefront of advances in the gambling and leisure industry. In doing so, it has acquired some notable and fast maturing technology clients, particularly in the online gambling sector.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Julian Harris
Managing partner John Hagan
Partner Bahar Alaeddini
Photo Name Position Profile
 Bahar Alaeddini  photo Bahar Alaeddini Partner
 Francesca Burnett-Hall  photo Francesca Burnett-Hall Associate.
 John Hagan  photo John Hagan  Managing partner; John co-founded Harris Hagan with Julian Harris in May 2004. …
 Julian Harris photo Julian Harris Senior partner; Julian co-founded Harris Hagan with John Hagan in May 2004.…
 Lucy Paterson  photo Lucy Paterson Lucy is an Associate and specialises in all aspects of online and…
 Hilary Stewart-Jones  photo Hilary Stewart-Jones Hilary is a consultant and advises many of the world’s largest land-based…
 David Whyte  photo David Whyte Before joining Harris Hagan in September 2019 as a Senior Associate, David…
 Jessica Wilson  photo Jessica Wilson Associate
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 7

TESTIMONIAL: “A legal team who had a proven track record with the Gambling Commission. We found that in Harris Hagan. We have been pleased with both their professionalism as well as their personal side as it is always helpful to feel like you have a friend working alongside you who is as invested in your company and success as you are. We anticipate a long working relationship with Harris Hagan and would highly recommend them to any company looking to do gambling business in the UK.”

TESTIMONIAL: “We have used Harris Hagan as our gaming lawyers since the foundation of our company and I have personally worked with the firm for well over 10 years. They are the pre-eminent specialist legal advisers to the UK gaming industry and stand head and shoulders above the competition. The depth of their industry knowledge and their understanding of the regulatory environment and gaming law is unmatched and invariably results in reliable and accurate advice. I have also personally found them to be steadfast in their support during the times of difficulty that all businesses will sometimes experience.”

TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan’s team boasts an in-depth knowledge not only of the law but also of policies, trends and solutions within the gaming industry, both land-based and online, and the quality of the firm’s clients stands as clear evidence of their capabilities. Harris Hagan provides consistently clear, practical and high-quality advice in an increasingly complicated regulatory environment, making it an undisputed leader in the field.”

TESTIMONIAL: “I rely on Harris Hagan for all of our gaming regulatory needs in the UK. Julian, John and Bahar are an incredible team. They are experts in the field, responsive and a pleasure to work with.”

TESTIMONIAL: “We work with Harris Hagan on our gambling compliance matters since we have found they are simply the best there is. We have always received constructive and balanced advice that has considered all the issues in a holistic and commercial manner from the obvious depth of expertise that they have. The underlying team and work ethic that delivers this is to be admired.”

TESTIMONIAL: “I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Harris Hagan over the past 6 years on many Compliance and Legal related matters. Harris Hagan is a highly effective and reputable firm whose knowledge, professionalism, and trustworthiness are unsurpassed. I enjoy working with their team and would recommend them to others”.

TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan are the ‘go to’ expert UK law firm for gambling services in the remote and non-remote sector. They offer first class, transparent and concise advice on regulatory and commercial matters, suitable for existing or prospective operators”

TESTIMONIAL: It is always a true pleasure to work with Harris Hagan. They have an impressive high level knowledge re international gaming and gambling law and they combine this with a unique knowledge regarding the industry. This enables the team at Harris Hagan to advise their impressive bouquet of international clients in the best possible and efficient way. It is thus always an inspiration to work with Harris Hagan”.

TESTIMONIAL: “I have sought advice and guidance from the team at Harris Hagan, covering all manner of gambling related issues, since our company’s formation 15 years ago. At a time of ever increasing change in the regulatory landscape coupled with increased scrutiny by the Gambling Commission, Harris Hagan have provided us with unrivalled experience and expertise throughout. Compliance is a critical requirement for all gambling operators and I would, and often do, thoroughly recommend Harris Hagan to industry colleagues.”

TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan have always been able to provide balanced advice based on sound legal analysis mixed with guidance gathered from its extensive contacts within the relevant regulatory body. The ability to gain valuable information on the thinking of a regulator should never be underestimated. Operators and suppliers do make mistakes but what is important is how the mistakes are handled with the regulator. Having Harris Hagan alongside you in difficult circumstances has proved great comfort, but it has also shown the right commitment to a regulator that the mistakes will be rectified correctly and in a timely fashion”.