Harris Hagan > London, England > Firm Profile

Harris Hagan
6 SNOW HILL
LONDON
EC1A 2AY
England

Crime, fraud and licensing > Gaming and betting Tier 1

The ‘hugely knowledgeable and very approachable’ team at Harris Hagan has specialised expertise in advising gaming clients on corporate transactions, regulation compliance investigations, and licence reviews. Drawing on over three decades’ experience, practice head Julian Harris is a recognised expert on both national and international gambling laws. John Hagan jointly leads the team, regularly facing instructions from commercial law firms, private equity firms, and banks to provide expertise in respect of corporate investments and transactions. Bahar Alaeddini continues to advise the world’s largest gambling businesses as well as start-ups, governments, and trade associations, and associate David Whyte‘s industry knowledge is instrumental in his advice to clients facing enforcement actions by the Gambling Commission. Hilary Stewart-Jones supports the practice as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Julian Harris; John Hagan

Other key lawyers:

Hilary Stewart-Jones; Bahar Alaeddini; David Whyte; Francesca Burnett-Hall; Jessica Wilson

Testimonials

‘Harris Hagan is undoubtedly the market leader in this sector – highly skilled, supremely well informed about the sector, always responsive and with a consummate ability to translate regulation into effective advice. It offers a comprehensive service to clients in the sector and its experience in wider governance areas enables it to recommend tailor-made solutions for its clients reflecting both internal resource, size of business and other key drivers.’

‘Julian Harris has a wealth of experience and is able to guide clients through complex issues. He understands not only the regulatory requirements of the industry but also appreciates business restraints; he is always able to provide solutions which meet not only regulatory requirements but also reflective of clients’ business environments. He is focused on delivery and works as an integral part of clients’ teams ensuring that excellence is the outcome.’

‘John Hagan and Francesca Burnett-Hall provide prompt and timely advice, and help keep us focused and on track on longer projects. They are knowledgeable and willing to provide challenge in a constructive way.’

‘They have in-depth understanding of the gambling industry and especially online channel. They also have empathy with the needs of the operator in what is now a highly regulated industry. They have individuals who have been in the sector since its inception and provide experience and pedigree in making the right decisions.’

‘They are hugely knowledgeable and very approachable. They talk clearly and in a manner in which lay people can understand. They get the boring detail right and manage the client well. Its almost as if they are an in-house team.’

‘Always available, always responsive and always with answers. From partner to associate, the competence and knowledge was exemplary, notable names being Bahar Alaeddini and Jessica Wilson – I would go as far as saying our dream team in gaming law.’

‘It is a super team which you sense really cooperate to the benefit of the client. They have a respectful and professional relationship with the regulators and managed to make very workable solutions. They are diverse and we really appreciated their support for their partner Bahar Alaeddini during maternity leave. They are extremely pleasant to work with and you feel very safe with them as advisers.’

‘We work with Bahar Alaeddini and John Hagan. It is longstanding cooperation which we value very much. Great industry insight. Super legal solutions and very service minded. You trust the advice you get and it is a pleasure to work with both. At the same time you get value for money.’

Work highlights

  • Acting on numerous operating licence reviews of high-profile and international B2C gambling operators as the Commission continues to escalate enforcement action every day, which in some instances represents an existential threat to their business.
  • Extensively advising from a gambling law, licensing and regulatory perspective on numerous Commission investigations, including high profile online and land-based operators, tier 1 operators and publicly listed companies.
  • Advising a wide variety of B2C and B2B gambling businesses and investors (financial institutions, publicly listed companies, private companies and individuals) on mergers and acquisitions, including public takeovers.

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 a Past President of IAGA. Bahar Alaeddini is General Counsel of IAGA and Global Gaming Women. Hilary Stewart-Jones is a member of IAGA and 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.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Senior partner Julian Harris
Managing partner John Hagan
Partner Bahar Alaeddini
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Bahar Alaeddini photo Bahar AlaeddiniPartner
Francesca Burnett-Hall photo Francesca Burnett-HallAssociate.
John Hagan photo John HaganManaging partner; John co-founded Harris Hagan with Julian Harris in May 2004. …
Julian Harris photo Julian HarrisSenior partner; Julian co-founded Harris Hagan with John Hagan in May 2004.…
Julian Harris photo Julian HarrisSenior partner; Julian co-founded Harris Hagan with John Hagan in May 2004.…
Hilary Stewart-Jones photo Hilary Stewart-JonesHilary is a consultant and advises many of the world’s largest land-based…
David Whyte photo David WhyteBefore joining Harris Hagan in September 2019 as a Senior Associate, David…
Jessica Wilson photo Jessica WilsonAssociate
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 7

CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan are, in my opinion, the pre-eminent gaming/gambling law firm in the UK. John Hagan and Julian Harris are excellent operators with an unrivalled depth of experience, they have a superb team working with them and they are just great to work with. Everyone in the firm has a very practical, common-sense approach and their focus is always on finding solutions while working collaboratively with regulators and other third party stakeholders. I work with a lot of gambling/gaming lawyers globally and I can confidently say that Harris Hagan are among the best gaming/gambling law firms in the world”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan have advised nearly all of the various casino businesses I have been involved with since 2005. We have been on a long journey together, with some great times and some very challenging times (dealing with the pandemic, for example). Julian, John, Bahar and all the HH team have been a bedrock of support throughout, always professional and meticulous… that is, of course, exactly why Harris Hagan is, by a considerable distance, the leading adviser to our sector”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “The betting and gambling industry has, and continues, to change at pace. Within this context, access to legal partners, with industry experience and expertise is a major key to success. Harris Hagan has provided [us], with unparalleled support, insight, training and representation. Its people, processes and services are of the highest order”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “My investment fund clients and 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”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “In an ever changing and developing industry, clients of all varieties require not just the expected factual and legal accuracy, but a keen sense of where the boundaries are potentially moving and the opportunities and threats that these bring. Harris Hagan have been in the forefront of this and are a ‘go to’ firm for advice and support across this complex, multi-jurisdictional environment”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan swiftly guided [us] through multiple regulatory approvals while also providing commercially focused counsel on operational matters that was crucial to [our] introduction to, and successful operations in, multiple European jurisdictions. Harris Hagan consistently exceeds its well-established reputation as a leading international regulatory firm”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “Harris Hagan have continued to stand out among legal firms not only for the strength and depth of their expertise in gambling legislation and regulatory practice both domestically and overseas…but for their consistent and sustained commitment to helping make the industry more socially responsible…John Hagan’s work with the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has been built on by the BGC, his involvement with Gamcare and his and other partners’ active thought leadership efforts… including on diversity have made a major and continuing contribution to improving the industry’s reputation and potential sustainability”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “Crucially, they have an empathetic understanding of the operational issues…and are able not only to offer step by step guidance through the complex law and regulatory framework but also to understand and address the particular circumstances of each client and offer tailored, cost effective, workable and compliant solutions. It is this ability which sets them apart from other firms: they make it their business to understand their clients and their business environment…Advice is always clear, friendly and constructive; advice always demonstrates the highest integrity and reflects the firm’s deep commitment to the sector and to its proper and realistic regulation.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “The team at Harris Hagan have been supporting [us] on all regulatory and licensing matters since our beginnings in 2014. An incredibly professional, highly efficient, responsive, dedicated group of individuals, who are a pleasure to work with, but most importantly, a firm that we can, and do, always rely upon. Whether it’s applying for new licences, development and review of policies, dealing with operational challenges, Harris Hagan are always there at our side, a valued partnership that has played a significant role in the success of our business”.


CLIENT: CONFIDENTIAL
COMPANY/FIRM:
TESTIMONIAL: “We have received two sessions of PML training as a team and the information that has been communicated from Bahar and the Harris Hagan team has been invaluable, in terms of both a company, but also a personal understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities of being a PML holder for the GB Gambling Commission”