Sunday, November 6, 2011 : INTERNET POKER FEATURES IN NEVADA LAW CONFERENCE
State governor to resurrect Gaming Policy Committee
The State Bar of Nevada conference on gaming law this week was the scene of revived interest in online poker developments in the gambling state, with governor Brian Sandoval unveiling plans to resurrect the Gaming Policy Committee to help deal with rapidly advancing technology issues, and members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board outlining state regulatory progress on the legalization of the pastime.
Sandoval said the traditionally 11-member GPC had been dormant for some time but that he has started in on its revival in order to generate independent and expert advice for regulators and law and policy makers in the state at a time when technology is rapidly expanding the boundaries and interests of the gambling industry in Nevada.
Sandoval spoke of his plans, saying: “I hope to sketch a new road map for the journey ahead. We will preserve our position as the gold standard in gaming regulation and in the provision of gaming entertainment. We will be second to none on the globe.”
Outlining the composition and intent of the GPC, the governor said that it is chaired by the governor and includes one member of the state Senate, one member of the state Assembly, one gaming commissioner, one member of the state Gaming Control Board, one member of a Native American tribe in Nevada and five appointees. Of the appointees, two would be non-restricted gaming licensees, one would be a restricted gaming licensee and two would be from the public.
Sandoval revealed that Nevada Control Board chairman Mark Lipparelli and Nevada Gaming Commission chairman Peter Bernhard had already been invited to serve on a rejuvenated committee, and that other members would be approached soon, the intent being to hold the first meeting early in the new year.
Delegates to the conference were reportedly keenly interested in the forthcoming advent of legalised and regulated online gambling in Nevada.
Earlier this year Gov. Sandoval signed off on an intrastate law legalising the pastime subject to federal approval, and tasking the state regulators to draw up regulations in preparation for legalization.
They were told that the drafting process was now well advanced, with public consultation hearings currently in progress to refine the regulations and requirements, and a finalisation target of December 2011.
“Nevada’s success in capitalizing on the emergence of Internet poker will depend on the strength of its leadership as a sophisticated regulator of gaming,” Sandoval told delegates. “We can only imagine what technology will bring in another 10 years and there are policy implications for us in that world of rapid change,” he said.
The governor said the revitalised GPC would examine issues ranging from specific technological devices to the world of the Internet and the impacts on tax policies and infrastructure of a possibly changed cyber economy, in which gamers do not necessarily need to be physically present at a gambling venue.
Mark Liparelli of the Nevada Gaming Control Board told delegates that there were benefits in regulated online poker that went beyond tax and economic development, and these mainly concerned the welfare and safety of the gamblers.
Because online gaming is account-based, every game and its result can be tracked, and that implies better oversight and efficiency in identifying irregular wagering patterns and detecting cheating, with cyber-trails through which regulators and law enforcement can track down illegal activity, he observed.
Other benefits included the prevention of collusion; assisting in beneficial research projects; restricting access of the underaged and problem-vulnerable; the ability to set betting limits; and the introduction of self-exclusionary and responsible gambling systems.