Monday November 14, 2011 : Gaming Control Board official says it's possible
Nevada online poker licenses, valid for intrastate operations only until federal legalization, could be available as early as the first quarter of 2012, says Mark Lipparelli, and as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Board his opinion has weight.
Lipparelli made the disclosure last week at the U.S. Online Gaming Law get together for the legal eagles in Las Vegas, according to the publication Vegas Inc., which reported that the regulatory exec told delegates the Board will begin taking applications to license companies to operate Internet poker sites in February 2012, and that his organisation would be ready to carry out the necessary probity investigations when that came about.
Practically speaking, the process is likely to go substantially faster for companies with which the Board is familiar, and that already hold Nevada licensing. It may take somewhat longer for new applications from companies that have not previously operated in Nevada – up to several months.
Once licensed, there appears to be no obstacle from the Board's perspective to operators offering intrastate online poker in a similar fashion to Nevada sports betting firms. Lipparelli stressed, however, that the action would be confined within the borders of Nevada in the absence thus far of federal legalization.
Interestingly, the exec explained that the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which makes financial transactions with ‘illegal' online gambling companies an offence, has provision for several exceptions, including intrastate and intratribal wagering.
The requirements for a licence will be tough; the regulator said that the Board has taken its land casino licensing model and applied it strictly to the online poker environment with probity, player protection, and technology all receiving thorough scrutiny.
“We think we’ve set the bar high for licensing and suitability,” the gaming executive observed.
By December, the Board is set to consider and hopefully approve regulations framed by the Nevada Gaming Commission earlier this year at the behest of the state Legislature, although in the interests of flexibility it may necessary to tweak these in the months following implementation.