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Just like gamblers who can’t walk away from the casino, Robert Callaway, the new general counsel of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, couldn’t resist the lure of practicing gaming law one more time. The former general counsel of Casino Magic Corp. was recently lured out of semiretirement by Hard Rock president and chief operating officer Joe Billhimer. Callaway joins the new Gulf Coast resort as its sole in-house lawyer. The 56-year-old had been working part-time as general counsel of Robert R. Williams Companies, a group of corporations controlled by an Alabama businessman. But Callaway says he missed the variety of legal issues that gaming companies face every day. And, he admits, the work at Robert R. Williams was not as intellectually challenging as his prior employment in the gaming world. Now Callaway looks forward to juggling a mix of regulatory issues; contracts and licenses; and employee, security, and premise liability matters. Callaway threw his first chip into gaming law during a five-year stint in the Nevada attorney general’s office, where he worked as counsel to the State Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission. He then moved to Beckley Singleton to help the Las Vegas-based firm build its gaming practice. After seven years there, including a three-year term as managing partner of the firm’s Reno outpost, Callaway left to become GC of Casino Magic, a group of casino properties, based in Mississippi, that is now owned by Pinnacle Entertainment. “Sometimes change is good just for the sake of change � it energizes you a bit,” says Callaway, reflecting on his career path. Callaway says a personal connection to Billhimer played a significant role in his latest move. The industry’s heavy regulatory atmosphere means that trust and established relationships are critical in hiring, he says. The two executives have known each other since 1994, when Callaway started at Casino Magic and Billhimer was a director for one of the company’s casino operations. And they share common interests, such as football, though Callaway’s support of the Dallas Cowboys chafes Washington Redskins fan Billhimer. A blackjack and craps player, Callaway usually limits his time at the tables to vacations with his wife, Linda. “When you’re around it on a day-to-day basis, just like any job, you want to get away from it,” he says. Callaway does, however, say he wouldn’t mind improving his craps game. Given Hard Rock’s plans to build a 50,000-square-foot single-level casino with 50 table games and 1,500 slot machines, he should have plenty of opportunities to pick up pointers from card sharks.

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