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PGCB veterans establish new gaming law firm

| By Robin Harrison
Susan Hensel, former director of licensing at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), and Joseph Grad, an attorney at the state regulatory authority, have launched Hensel Grad PC, a boutique law firm providing services to the gaming industry.

The pair previously worked together at the PGCB, developing the licensing regulatory structure for Pennsylvania, which has grown into the second largest commercial gaming market in the US. 

They are now targeting domestic and international clients with Hensel Grad, providing gaming-related services across the country to operators, manufacturers, suppliers, investors, start-ups and others seeking to participate in the industry. 

In addition, the firm aims to act as a consultant for other jurisdictions in the US and beyond that are developing gambling regulations. 

iGB columnist Hensel is an experienced industry regulator, and was the PGCB’s first employee in 2005, and its first director of licensing, overseeing the certification of more than 100,000 individuals and businesses. She stepped down from her role at the regulator in April this year.

Her tenure with the regulator spanned a period that saw the market evolve from one in which slots were the only legal product, to one in which multiple products, verticals and channels are legal. She was also named one of iGB’s Most Influential Women in Gaming in 2020.

Her co-founder Grad previously ran is own legal practice, providing services in gaming, corporate and healthcare to a range of clients. He represented a host of different clients through his gaming practice, and has advised state gaming authorities, most recently serving on Colorado’s Sports Betting Working Group.

He was also one of the first attorneys hired by the PGCB, working there between 2005 and 2010. He served as its assistant chief counsel, and special counsel for corporate finance and governance.

“We believe the time is right for a law firm with a solid understanding of how US gaming regulation is created, implemented and enforced,” Hensel explained.

“[We] have the knowledge, experience and relationships necessary to serve all of a client’s regulatory needs and believe a boutique law firm is the ideal platform from which to deliver the highest quality gaming law services to clients.” 

Grad added that the firm would focus on advising new and recent entrants to the US market, whether they are foreign entities, early-stag US companies or state bodies tasked with overseeing the development of new verticals. 

“[From] a client’s decision to enter a jurisdiction to post-licensing compliance and at all points in between, we will be their partner in navigating the US gaming landscape,” he said. 

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