Friday October 26,2012 : NEVADA GOVERNOR SUPPORTS ONLINE POKER LEGALISATION
Republican governor of Nevada urges Congress to support Reid initiative
The Washington DC publication The Hill reports that Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, has written to Congressional leaders in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's initiative to legalise online poker at federal level.
Governor Sandoval's state is already far advanced in creating its own intrastate regulatory jurisdiction for online poker.
“As Congress considers legalization to address the uncertainty surrounding Internet gaming, I offer my full support to the efforts by Sens. Harry Reid and John Kyl [sic] to draft a federal bill that strikes a balance between consumer protection and maintaining state authority,” Sandoval wrote.
The governor opined in his letter that state rights can still be respected despite federal legalization.
“State rights in this area must be protected, but a sensible federal framework is necessary to complement state efforts on Internet gaming," he wrote. "A sensible federal approach would preserve state authority to ban gaming within its borders, protect minors from exposure to online gaming and protect legitimate consumers from illegal offshore operators.”
He added: “The Reid-Kyl approach would accomplish these essential objectives while introducing strong consumer protections into a space where none currently exist.”
Our readers will recall that the Reid-Kyl bill seeks to federally legalise online poker, but with a quid pro quo of introducing a specific ban on internet gambling generally, with the exception of existing carve-outs for fantasy sports, horse racing and state lotteries.
The proposal has opt-out provisions for individual states that are against all forms of internet gambling.
The Hill points out that the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has already said that an online poker legalization bill is not needed because states are capable of regulating online gaming themselves.
"State authority and consumer protection with respect to online gaming are not mutually exclusive. With gaming, states have long demonstrated that they are capable of protecting consumers. This bill is aiming to fix a problem that simply doesn’t exist," said James Ward, a committee director for the NCSL.
There have also been accusations that the Reid-Kyl bill favours the Nevada gaming industry, already well advanced in the development of a regulatory regime.
Reid is expected to try to move the poker bill during Congress’s lame-duck session after the November elections.