Page 23 - Mississippi/Louisiana Gaming News - Winter, 2022
P. 23

RubinBrown no gamble for MS gaming industry
By David Grisham
MISSISSIPPI — Founded in 1952, RubinBrown LLP is one of the nation’s leading accounting and professional consulting firms. Recognizing the unique complexities surrounding the gaming industry, the firm established a dedicated group to serve industry members and has become recognized as a leader
in the gaming industry, serving clients across the nation.
Ranked among America’s largest accounting and consulting firms by Inside Public Accounting in 2022, RubinBrown is a full-service firm that emphasizes personal, high-level relationships.
Jeff Cooper, partner RubinBrown Gaming Services Group, has ties to
the Mississippi gaming industry and his experience working with regulators and casino operators is invaluable.
Cooper talked about his Mississippi casino experience. “I started working in the Mississippi gambling industry in 1997 when the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino Biloxi was opened by Ralph Engelstad. At the time I was working with Ralph and the Engelstad family in Las Vegas with my previous firm Bradshaw Smith & Company, as the casino’s CPA and the family’s tax service provider.”
Cooper said Engelstad had a vision
to open and operate a sister property
to the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas
in the newly legalized Mississippi Gulf Coast gaming market. He achieved
that vision and grew the property to
be the second-largest privately owned hotel in the world with 1,040 rooms and 900 employees.
“My involvement in Mississippi significantly increased when the family trust took over operating oversight of the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino Biloxi in 2002. The Engelstad family and the Imperial Palace Biloxi is most known for being the first casino on the Gulf Coast to reopen after Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” Cooper added.
Cooper’s involvement with RubinBrown was the result of a merger between his previous firm and RubinBrown in 2019. “We were drawn to a merger with RubinBrown because of their investment and commitment to the gambling industry,” he said. “We were first introduced to RubinBrown in 2017 when
they entered the Las Vegas market. Over the next two years, I learned more about their commitment
to growing and building a top-notch national gaming services group.”
Jeff Cooper
Brandon Loeschner
useful when it comes to offering practical advice
to RubinBrown clients. “I have seen gaming regulations change from state to
state as clients have acquired new properties outside of Nevada; I have
  Cooper said the
merger was an
ideal match. “They were different from us in how they approached and served the U.S. regulated gaming market. We had a financial audit and tax practice focused on the gaming industry in Nevada and California. They had an internal controls, MICS, IT controls
and compliance audit practice that was working with regional gaming operators out of the Midwest (riverboat and dockside markets). We complemented each other so well — services, experience and geography.”
seen the fierce competition between states, cities and tribes competing for financial stability. Now I get to see the roll out of sports betting and iGaming.”
Cooper’s team includes four other dedicated gaming partners, combining for more than 100 years of diversified gaming experience in the United States. He is excited about bringing this expertise and experience to the Mississippi Gulf Coast gaming industry. “I’m biased,” he said. “But we are the best at bringing financing, strategic advisory, technology certification/ compliance, accounting, and tax compliance advice to our clients.”
Brandon Loeschner, CPA, CISA, CGA and partner, National Practice Leader Gaming Services Group, said the group has the vision to be nationally known for its understanding of gaming regulations. “We work in partnership with regulators, casino operators, online sports wagering operators, internal audit and property compliance personnel towards a common goal — efficient, effective and sustainable gaming compliance,” he explained. “To best serve our gaming industry clients we focus on the
complex issues faced by the industry. We recognize the unique segments of the U.S. regulated gaming industry and have aligned our resources and develop our team members with specialized knowledge.”
Loeschner said RubinBrown is looking to bring its suite of services and passion for the U.S. gambling industry to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “Our gaming services group is rooted in gaming compliance helping national operators, regional operators and privately owned casino operators with audit, tax, MICS and AML compliance. We differentiate ourselves with our ability to ‘audit once and report to many jurisdictions’ — lowering the cost of compliance.”
   “I’m biased...But we
are the best at bringing
financing, strategic
advisory, technology
accounting and tax advice
to our clients.”
~ Jeff Cooper
Other factors made the combination attractive. “We saw the opportunity
to bring our existing clients additional expertise in specialized areas of tax, IT audit, cybersecurity, M&A and multi-jurisdictional gaming compliance consulting,” he explained.
“Having experienced firsthand the differences between Mississippi gaming regulations and Nevada regulated gaming, their vision for a national gaming practice resonated with me and my partners.”
In his 40-plus year career, Cooper has seen the gaming industry grow and change dramatically. Both as a service provider and on the operations side with the reopening of IP in Mississippi in 2005, his experience is extremely

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