Nevada Trying to Regulate U.S. Online Poker

11 March 2011

Now it is Nevada’s turn. BDR 41-657 is the name of the bill that was proposed yesterday in the Nevada State Assembly that would legalize online poker. Majority Whip William Horne (D-Las Vegas) introduced the bill which has the support of former Speaker and current lobbyist for PokerStars, Richard Perkins.

The bill does have some of the same qualities of the bills in New Jersey, Florida, California and Iowa but with one glaring omission. Nevada does not look to restrict its online poker to Nevada residents only. Nevada’s bill, which can be read here, will enable the overseeing Nevada Gaming Commission to “enter into compacts with other jurisdictions where interactive gaming is not prohibited … and authorizing the commingling of games and pots between such jurisdictions.”

Nevada will also pay 4% of the gross revenue that come from players from the other jurisdictions and whose operators have a Nevada license. This bill would be similar to states sharing the lottery. Another twist in this bill is that operators applying for a license could not be denied a license if before the date this bill would go in effect, “operates, operated or was associated with, in interstate or foreign commerce and while licensed by another jurisdiction, one or more Internet poker operations which were unlicensed in the United States or the State of Nevada and in which bets or wagers were initiated, received or otherwise made by persons located in the United States.”

Basically, “Hello World”. This would open up potential licenses to PokerStars, Bodog, FullTilt, Party Poker, Microgaming and anyone else who currently is not operating in the U.S. because of the UIGEA or is operating in what some call the gray area of the law.

The Assembly Committee on Judiciary is scheduled to look into the bill on March 24th. There is a lot to look over because this bill looks like a bold attempt by Nevada to regulate and control the entire U.S. online poker industry. I am sure there will be reaction from not only other states but the federal government as well.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid tried to push through a federal online gambling bill during the last session but it died in December, a spokesperson for Reid, Zac Petkanas said;

“The writing has been on the wall that if the federal government doesn’t act to regulate Internet poker, then states will try to do so.” Petkanas added, “A federalized market — regulated by proven regulators like the Nevada Gaming Control Board and coupled with tough new measures to stop illegal Internet gambling — is the right way to go.”

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