Tuesday September 20, 2011 : "No question that there is the potential for billions of dollars of revenues to be generated by online poker," says Richard Bryan
 
The widely respected lawyer, senior Democratic Party politician and former Nevada governor, Richard Bryan, spoke out for internet poker at the recent Southwest Bankruptcy Conference in Las Vegas, admitting that he was a former opponent of the pastime, but that it was clearly of future value to Nevada if properly legalised and regulated.
 
Bryan's record of public service stretches back to the seventies and includes spells in the Nevada Senate, as the state's Attorney General, as a federal Senator for 12 years, and in two terms as governor of Nevada.
 
"We are in very challenging times," Bryan said in his keynote speech at the conference, held at the Four Seasons resort earlier this month. He claimed that Las Vegas, with its dependence on tourism, conferences and entertainment, had been among the hardest hit American centres impacted by the adverse economic conditions, and characterised recovery so far as "tentative at best."
 
Looking toward the future, Bryan opined: "Visitor counts, convention attendance and room rates are going up, but it's never going to be like it was in the late 1990s and earlier this decade."
 
Turning to the gambling industry in the state, the former governor was emphatic that the legalization of internet poker, and ensuring that Nevada became the nation's quality centre for regulation, offered significant opportunities if handled sensibly and with federal approval.
 
Bryan was candid in admitting that he has not always been a proponent of online gambling. "I admit I was late to the party," he said. "I wasn't enamoured with Internet gaming."
 
But, he added, there was no question that there is the potential for billions of dollars of revenues to be generated by online poker. He noted, however, that whilst he supported the legalization of internet poker, he remained opposed to that of online casino gambling.
 
The traditional "taboos" associated with gambling have been broken by the more widespread acceptance of the pastime and the proliferation of tribal and other land gambling operations that have sprung up across the United States, the former governor opined, noting that 48 of the 50 U.S. states have legalised gaming of one sort or another.