Stephen M. Hart

Stephen M. Hart

Partner
shart@lrrc.com vCard
602.262.5787
602.734.4009 fax
201 East Washington Street
Suite 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Steve Hart is a nationally recognized attorney, practicing in the areas of Indian Law, Gaming Law, and Corporate and Government Relations. Mr. Hart represents Tribes and Tribal Gaming Commissions throughout the Western United States, providing legal and strategic advice on issues related to policy, economic development, Indian gaming, state and federal legislative and administrative practice, tribal-state compact negotiations, licensing matters, land into trust and Indian lands determinations, real estate and project development, intellectual property issues, financial transactions, litigation and general business law matters. He also represents corporations and other business entities in their efforts to shape and comply with government regulations, and in their business interactions with tribes and tribal entities.

Mr. Hart is actively involved with a number of tribal business associations, a published author and frequent presenter at conferences and events including the Western Indian Gaming Conference, the International Masters of Gaming Law, the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, and the American Bar Association.

Mr. Hart served as the Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming during the Jane Hull administration. He led the Department through Sunset legislation, budget crises and high profile gaming investigations. In addition, he served as Governor Hull’s personal legal advisor on Indian gaming and was on the Governor’s team for negotiation of new Tribal-State gaming compacts with the 22 Tribal governments in Arizona. His work for the State of Arizona culminated with the December 2002 signing of new gaming compacts in Arizona.

Success Stories

Economic Development for Navajo Nation – Mr. Hart led the team of attorneys that assisted the Navajo Nation in all legal aspects of build out of a $120 million resort in Northern Arizona. The team worked to obtain political support of the local community, state legislators, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and U.S. Senator John McCain. They successfully acquired the land and worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to secure the land into trust, assisted with infrastructure design, negotiated the necessary easements for infrastructure improvements including telecommunications, water, access, wastewater disposal and other construction issues, and handled the final construction of the project, and provided advice on sovereign immunity and other contract matters.

Innovative Financial Approach Saves Tribe $400 Million – The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians came to Mr. Hart for assistance with its struggling Red Hawk Casino in Placerville, California. The gaming compact in place with the State of California, along with political and legal obstacles found the tribe deeply in debt and unable to meet revenue distribution allocations. As lead negotiator, Mr. Hart successfully argued the arrangements were not in compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and renegotiated an unprecedented new deal for the tribe with the State of California, restructured financial obligations to bondholders and its previous management company, saving the tribe hundreds of millions of dollars over the term of the compact.

Multi-Tribe Compact Negotiations in New Mexico – Building on the ongoing relationship Mr. Hart enjoys with the Navajo Nation, in 2015 he began a complex negotiation involving four other tribes, with the ultimate goal of securing new compacts with the State of New Mexico that would benefit all five tribes. The negotiations took a number of years, and Mr. Hart and his team were able to help solve difficult issues involving revenue sharing, previous compact amendments and the pressured timing of the legislative calendar and various compact termination deadline, as well as guiding the tribe through the approval process with the state legislature and the Department of Interior.

Assisted With Passing Legislation to Legalize iPoker – Our team represented the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians as they worked with a tribal coalition to promote bills that would legalize iPoker in California. Coming on the heels of previous failed attempts to legalize iPoker in the state, Mr. Hart helped write a significant portion of the legislation and amendments and helped move a successful bill through the legislature. Key to the success of this effort was an agreement that supported retirement and pension plans for jockeys and pari-mutuel employees, supplement horse racing purses, and otherwise benefit the state racing fairs. Nearly $60,000,000 annually would be earmarked from iPoker revenue to fund those projects. This creative approach was successful in passing the legislation necessary to allow our client, and others in the tribal coalition, to enter the iPoker arena in the state of California.

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Intertribal Court of Southern California, Member
  • Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, Past Chairman
  • Arizona Indian Gaming Association, Member
  • International Masters of Gaming Law, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member

Related News

07/06/2018
05/03/2018
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Recognized by Chambers USA 2018
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie announces 22 attorneys and seven practice areas are recognized by Chambers USA 2018
8/15/2017
Partners honored as Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers
85 Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys in The Best Lawyers in America 2018
12/19/2016
Tribal-state gaming issues a hot topic for legislators, regulators
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys Steve Hart, Kerry Patterson to speak at NCLGS Winter Meeting
08/15/2016
83 Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys named in ‘Best Lawyers'
11 partners also honored as ‘Lawyer of the Year' in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017
8/26/2015

Related Events

Past Events

Presentations

  • Presenter, "History of Sports Betting and the Case,” ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, August 2018
  • Presenter, “When Will the Tribes be Able to Operate Sports Betting?” Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2018
  • Presenter, "Recent Court Decisions in Indian Country: Lewis, Patchak, Carcieri and Beyond," International Masters of Gaming Law Panel, March 2018  
  • Presenter, "The Evolution of Tribal/State Compacts in California," 22nd Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2017
  • Moderator, "Tribal Gaming Legal Issues with States," Winter Meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, January 2017
  • Presenter, "Tribal-State Gaming Issues a Hot Topic for Legislators, Regulators," National Council of Legislators from Gaming States 2016 Winter Meeting, December 2016
  • Presenter, “Online Gaming in Indian Country,” American Bar Association: 20th Annual National Institute on the Gaming Law Minefield, February 2016
  • Presenter, "The State of Compacting in California – Takeaways From Recent Gaming Compacts," Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2016
  • Program Co-Chair and Presenter, "State Legislative Trends,” Law Seminars International: The Third Annual Conference on Legal Issues for Tribal Online Gambling, May 2015
  • Thought-Leader, “Open Space: Tribal and Regional Gaming,” GiGse Totally Gaming, April 2015
  • Presenter, "Tribal State Gaming Compacts - Lessons Learned" and "Internet Gaming - Point, Counterpoint," Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2015
  • Presenter, "iGaming in Indian County: Federal, State and Tribal Developments" and "State of California Tribal Compact Negotiations: Past, Present & Future," California Gaming Law Summit, January 2015
  • Moderator, "Regulatory - Don't Get Called for Illegal Procedure Because You Weren't Up on the Latest Issues Facing Gaming Operations and Regulations," 2014 Arizona Indian Gaming Association EXPO, November 2014
  • Presenter, "Indian County Series: Advances in Technology," International Masters of Gaming Law 2014 Spring Conference, April 2014
  • Program Co-Chair and Presenter, "State Legislative Trends and Update on Currently Pending State Legislation" and "Tribal-State Compacts: Determining the Extent to Which Tribes Need to Negotiate Updated Terms to Accommodate Internet Gaming,” Law Seminars International: The Second Annual Conference on Legal Issues for Tribal Online Gambling, April 2014
  • Presenter, "Getting the Lay of the Land," iGaming Legislative Symposium, February 2014
  • Presenter, "Tribal Government: Joint Power Agreements," and "Internet Gaming," Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2014
  • Presenter, "End of the Road or New Opportunity? Renegotiating Compacts," Global Gaming Expo, September 2013
  • Presenter, "Compact Renegotiations: Considerations and Opportunities," Arizona Indian Gaming Association Second Annual Tribal Leader Retreat, August 2013
  • Program Co-Chair and Presenter, "Recent and Likely Future Legislative and Other Legal Developments," and "Tribal-State Compacting and Internet Gaming," Law Seminars International: Tribal Online Gambling, April 2013
  • Presenter, "General Session Seminars: Internet Poker," Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2013
  • Presenter, "State of Gaming: Internet Gaming - Internet Poker Regulatory and Operational Challenges," Arizona Indian Gaming Association Doing Business in Indian Country, November 2012
  • Presenter, "Issues in Compacting," National Indian Gaming Association's 2012 Tradeshow and Convention, April 2012
  • Presenter, "Tribal Gaming from a Competition Perspective," iGaming North American 2012 Conference, March 2012
  • Presenter, "Internet Gaming - Where Are We? Where Are We Going?," Western Indian Gaming Conference, February 2012
  • Presenter, “What’s Happening in Indian Gaming?,” International Masters of Gaming Law, May 2011
  • Presenter, “Tribal Gaming: Legal and Regulatory Update,” Florida Gaming Summit, October 2010
  • Presenter, “Enforcement of MICS and Corresponding Policies and Procedures in Indian Casino Environment,” Western Indian Gaming Association,” January 2010
  • Presenter, "Trends in Recent Tribal/State Gaming Compacts," Indian Country's Winning Hand: 20 Years of IGRA Conference, October 2008

Publications

Distinctions

  • The Best Lawyers in America - Lawyer of the Year - Gaming Law, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America - Woodward/White, Aiken, S.C. - Gaming Law and Native American Law, 2005-2019
  • Chambers USA - Native American Law, 2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell - "AV/Preeminent Attorney" Rating

Other Info

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 1985
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1980

Bar Admissions

Jamul Indian Village, 2013
Rincon Tribe, 2010
Yurok Tribe, 2009
Yavapai-Apache Tribe, 2007
Arizona, 1985

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
Intertribal Court of Southern California