Albany Law School Alumni and Faculty Named in City & State’s “Who’s Who in Casinos & Sports Betting”

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In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Since then, sports gambling has been on the rise across the nation, with several states, including New York, legalizing sports betting. Sportsbooks in New York launched legally in January 2022 and have since taken off, with operators clearing $3.5 billion in revenue and the State racking in more than $1.5 billion in taxes.

These multibillion-dollar markets are growing exponentially, with opportunities to expand everywhere, and notable Albany Law School alumni and Government Law Center faculty are playing a key role in the expansion. Five Albany Law School grads have been named to City & State’s recent “Who’s Who in Casinos & Sports Betting.”

Michael Avella Sr. ‘89

As one of New York state’s leading racing and gaming experts, Avella Sr. heads the team at the Dickinson & Avella law firm that works on all aspects of the gaming industry, from casino development to horse racing to lottery. Dickinson & Avella represents Steve Cohen’s Metropolitan Park, Rush Street Gaming, and Resorts World Casino as it proposes a new casino complex at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Avella has experience as counsel for the State Senate, managing legislative matters related to racing and gambling, among others.

Phil Boyle ‘87

Former state Sen. Phil Boyle is the President and CEO of Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting, which owns Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel in Long Island. Boyle was an early supporter of bringing a casino to Long Island and helped Suffolk OTB dig out of a hole and avoid bankruptcy. In 2023, Suffolk OTB announced a $200 million expansion plan to Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel in 2023, increasing the number of slots and video games from 1,000 to 2,000.

James Featherstonhaugh ’69

A partner at Featherstonhaugh, Clyne & McCardle, LLP, Featherstonhaugh has decades of experience in litigation. Featherstonhaugh’s expertise runs deep in the world of gaming in New York, having served as the founding president of the New York Gaming Association and is the corporate secretary and chief legal officer of Saratoga Casino Hotel. With a $3 billion proposal for a casino resort at Coney Island in Brooklyn, the racino teaming up with a pool of developers has bid for one of just three casino licenses earmarked for downstate properties.

Daniel Katz ‘09

The current Executive Vice President & General Counsel of The Parkside Group, Katz, has dedicated a large part of his career to lobbying and advocating for political causes, particularly in working with elected officials to facilitate the passing of sports betting legislation in New York. Katz is also recognized for his contribution to the development of regulations that have led to over $1.5 billion in state tax revenue since the legalization of sports betting in New York.

Joshua Oppenheimer ‘06

Oppenheimer, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, focuses on New York State government affairs, where he represents clients before the legislative and executive branches. He specializes in regulations and legislation related to racing and gaming. Specifically, Oppenheimer is involved in lobbying efforts for MGM Resorts, the operator of the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, as it pursues one of the three casino licenses for downstate properties. Additionally, Oppenheimer represents the New York Racing Association.

Bennett Liebman

Having served as special counsel under former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and being a member of the state Racing and Wagering Board, and later serving as deputy secretary for racing and gaming under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Liebman, a Government Lawyer in Residence at Albany Law School and an adjunct professor of law, holds vast knowledge and experience in gambling and state government. From 2001 to 2011, he worked at Albany Law School’s Government Law Center as the Coordinator of its Program on Racing and Wagering Law and as the Center’s executive director. In 2016, he came out of retirement to serve as the interim director of the Center. He has written hundreds of articles on horse racing, gambling, and the New York State government. From 2008 to 2011, he was a regular blogger for the New York Times Rail Blog, authoring over 100 articles.