Nevada Bill Would Approve Interstate Bets

The United States gambling capitol, Nevada, is making sure it is not left out of the lucrative online gaming market. Nevada could face some serious competition as other states play their own internet gambling operations. When the state’s legislature starts its four month session legislators are expected to begin the debate on a bill that would allow companies offering online poker in Nevada accept bets from players in other states. In most of the nation that type of betting is banned but states like California and New Jersey are considering bills that would legalize some types of online gambling including internet bingo. In New Jersey Governor Christie vetoed the most current bill but said he would sign it if some specific changes are made. New Jersey lawmakers say the bill could be signed into law as soon as March 18th.

In Nevada Assembly Bill 5 will allow Nevada based internet gaming companies to expand their customer base. Although the bill is only one of a handful dealing with gambling it is considered the most important. Nevada Governor Rick Sandoval requested the change in his State of the State address and the Nevada Gaming Control Board obliged and drafted the legislation. Officials see expanded internet gambling as a potential moneymaker for the state. Currently Nevada only permits internet poker and the legislation would only apply to poker. Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett stated “I think this is something that could help our state. Otherwise I don’t think you’d see this kind of interest in it. This is something that would go out and allow our operators to be as competitive as they can be.”

The new law builds on regulations that were passed in 2011 that established the framework enabling Nevada gaming companies to offer online poker. The bill would allow Nevada’s governor to reach agreements with other state governors to share online players. Observers say that possibly one day subsequent legislation could allow Nevada to join the international online gaming community. Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told reporters “I would say the ability of the governor to enter into that kind of agreement, whether it is international or domestic, is extremely important.”

According to estimates by American Gaming Association lobbyist Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. online players wager about $35 billion worldwide annually. 85 countries have legalized internet gambling. The Nevada bill comes shortly after the US congress failed to pass any online gaming legislation. Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said he will renew his efforts to get an internet gambling bill passed but most political observers say passage is not likely at the present time. Several major online gaming companies are closely watching the progress of Assembly Bill 5.