Harris Hagan > London, England > Firm Profile

Harris Hagan

Crime, fraud and licensing > Gaming and betting Tier 1

The 'extremely reputable' Harris Hagan is dedicated to licensing and regulatory matters in the gambling industry. It counts a vast range of land-based and online gambling operators and suppliers, start-ups, government entities and trade associations among its clients. The firm is also called upon by international law firms, private equity firms and banks, among others, to provide specialist advice on corporate transactions and investments. The team is highly skilled in advising on Gambling Commission compliance, enforcement investigations and licence reviews for both businesses and senior executives, as well as applications for remote and non-remote operating licences, and offers extensive compliance training. In addition, the firm has expanded its practice to assist clients with high-profile corporate transactions in the gambling sector. With 'unparalleled experience' in the betting and gaming space, senior partner Julian Harris and managing partner John Hagan jointly lead the practice. The 'supremely well-informed' team also includes Bahar Alaeddini and consultant Hilary Stewart-Jones.

Practice head(s):

Julian Harris; John Hagan

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Harris Hagan is an extremely reputable firm within the gambling industry. The whole team is very solid in their practice. Probably the most significant difference with other firms is the fact that Harris Hagan does both online and terrestrial gambling, while most law firms with expertise in the gambling sector do one or the other.’

‘Julian Harris and John Hagan are considered as top professionals and their experience in this sector is simply unparalleled.’

‘Easily accessible, knowledgeable and have their finger on the pulse of the latest developments. Always keen to share thoughts and highly professional.’

‘Harris Hagan is highly skilled, supremely well informed about the sector, always responsive and with a consummate ability to translate regulation into effective advice. It is able to offer a comprehensive service to clients in the sector; its experience in wider governance areas enables it to recommend tailor-made solutions for its clients, reflecting internal resource and other key drivers. The firm is very proactive, very easy to deal with and closely aligned to its clients’ needs.’

‘The team had an extremely in-depth knowledge of the regulations and were invaluable in helping us to construct effective procedures and policies to ensure we remained compliant with the changing regulations. The team also had a fantastic knowledge of how the UK Gambling Commission worked, and helped us to present our business in the best possible light.’

‘Harris Hagan is a super firm to work with. They have the best lawyers who are at the highest academic level and at the same time business-oriented, thus you get solutions that are very efficient. They have a second-to-none global network of the best gaming and gambling lawyers and can thus provide first-class advice around the globe.’

‘John Hagan and Bahar Alaeddini are very good lawyers with a remarkable knowledge of the gaming and gambling market, as well as operators, platforms and payment providers and affiliates. They have an impressive international network. They both have a great sense of humour and keep a clear mind in situations with a lot of pressure.’

‘Harris Hagan really get to know their clients and provide much-welcomed advice which is both straightforward and clear. This is refreshing due to the increasingly complicated legislative environment of gambling. Bahar Alaeddini stands out as an highly intellectual lawyer at the top of her profession who deals with her clients in a an easy manner.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on numerous operating licence reviews, including for high-profile online and land-based operators.
  • Advising on personal licence reviews for senior executives in the gambling industry, including advising on and preparing detailed representations to the Commission’s findings, mitigation, and advising on and preparing detailed representations on sanctions.
  • Advising a potential bidder for the Fourth National Lottery Licence on the potential structure of the competition and other matters.

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 unequaled 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 Immediate Past President of IAGA. Bahar Alaeddini is a member 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.

Senior partner Julian Harris
Managing partner John Hagan
Partner Bahar Alaeddini
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 HarrisSenior partner; Julian co-founded Harris Hagan with John Hagan in May 2004.…
Jemma Newton  photo Jemma Newton Associate
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: “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”.

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”.

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”.

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”.

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”.

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”.

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”.

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.

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”.

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”