America’s gambling capitol, Las Vegas, is making sure it stays in the forefront of online gambling. The Nevada legislature is in session this month and one of the bills coming up for debate would allow companies offering online poker in Nevada to accept wagers from out of state players. In most of the nation internet wagers are banned but several states, including California and New Jersey, are expected to pass bills that would legalize some types of online gambling. In most states poker will be the only game offered but Delaware plans to offer residents a variety of games including online bingo. The American Gaming Association has been lobbying congress to pass a federal bill that would only legalize poker.
Why should online bingo players care about poker bills in state legislatures? The answer is simple; if all goes well with poker and states make money it is only a matter of time before most states will expand gambling to include other games like online bingo. If things work out in Nevada and this proposal is passed online bingo players from surrounding states could be playing at Nevada based sites in just a few years. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval requested the changes in his State of the State address in January. The Nevada Gaming Control Board drafted legislation that would allow out of staters to make wagers in Nevada. Lawmakers see the move as a potential moneymaker for Nevada.
Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told reporters “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 proposal builds on state regulations from 2011 that established a regulatory framework for Nevada companies to offer online poker. The bill will allow Nevada Governors to enter into agreements with other with other governors to share online players. Many experts believe that subsequent legislation could allow Nevada to join the international online gaming community. Burnett stated “I would say the ability of the governor to enter into that kind of agreement, whether it is international or domestic, is extremely important.”
The Nevada bill comes on the heels of failed attempts to pass online gaming legislation at the federal level. Currently Nevada’s regulations prohibit companies from accepting wagers across state lines. In Nevada gambling is one of the state’s most important industries and traditionally what the gambling industry wants it gets.