Posted 3/12/11 : Two more bills introduced that could further the legalization initiative
It's either a famine or a feast when it comes to e-gaming legalization in Nevada, it appears. Hardly had the ink dried on media reports on the launch of Assembly Majority Whip William Horne's AB 258, which seeks to legalise intrastate online poker , than two more pieces of legalization surfaced as the week ended.
Prior to that, it had been a long drought since 2001, when the Nevada Legislature passed AB466, only to back off when the US Justice Department made threatening noises.
Whilst the newly introduced SB103 and SB218 do not directly address legalization per se, they provide the foundations for such a move by the state of Nevada. Both were well-supported during an initial public hearing which considered them Friday before adjourning without a vote and passing them on for a Judiciary Committee hearing.
Meanwhile, AB258 sailed through a first reading in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and has been recommended to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill is intended to legalise online internet poker only, and has an element that may not please those of a protectionist frame of mind – it specifically lays down that a regulator such as the Nevada Gaming Commission may not deny an operator a licence solely on grounds that said operator was involved in internet gambling activities with entities unlicensed in the United States.
It also has provision for accepting action from other states where online poker has been legalised, and sets timeframes for the end of 2011 in respect of establishing the necessary regulations.
SB103 and SB218 could be described as ‘enabling bills' related to ‘interactive gambling'.
SB103 lists amendments and additions necessary for the Nevada Gaming Commission to establish licensing requirements and fees for “interactive gaming service providers” to act on behalf of a gaming establishment.
SB218 authorises the Nevada Gaming Control Board to set up and regulate “hosting centers” and authorise “service providers” with the assistance and advice of the Nevada Gaming Commission. Defining the terms ‘hosting centers' and ‘service providers' is a task allocated to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The consensus appears to be that the bill is designed to provide a legal framework for AB258 and SB103.
Observers have noted that there is a strong possibility that 103 and 218 will be at some point in the legislative process combined into one omnibus piece of legalization, and that would seem to be a logical development. Such an act would provide for both operators and service providers such as software suppliers to be authorised and regulated, if necessary as separate categories.
The now fast-moving legislative initiatives have to be viewed against a background that indicates serious intentions regarding legalization in the Silver State. Previous InfoPowa reports have described the approvals and acceptability of alliances such as that between Caesars Interactive Entertainment and the Gibraltar-based 888.com, and that company's burgeoning relationship with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.