Thursday May 21,2015 : COULD RAWA DISLOCATE NEVADA MOBILE SPORTS BETTING?
Unintentional side effect could impact a $3.9 billion industry.
Sheldon Adelson's Restoration of America's Wire Act has the potential to create an unintended but spectacular backfire for Nevada's $3.9 billion mobile sports betting business, according to an article in the respected Las Vegas Revue Journal this week.
The publication points out that the proposed law already has the potential to end currently legalised internet poker in the state, but adds that its provisions on the transmission of gambling information through wire communications across state lines could also cripple mobile sports betting.
William Hill USA executive Joe Asher told the Journal that his company is concerned at the potential impact on its business.
“There are thousands of Nevadans who bet sports on their mobile phone today in a highly regulated and appropriate fashion,” Asher said. “The idea that we would take away our customers’ ability to bet on their mobile phones, one of the key growth areas in the business, doesn’t make sense.”
The dangerous consequences of RAWA were highlighted by Las Vegas specialist gaming attorney Greg Gemignani, of the law firm Dickinson Wright.
Gemignani researched the bill last year and found several issues “…that could backfire on some of our operators in Nevada,” the LVRJ reports.
Gemignani points out that wireless phone transmissions in Nevada – including those used for mobile sports wagering – often travel through routers in Arizona, California or Utah because of the network topology and function.
Under the RAWA, transmitting gambling information across those state lines, even when the transmissions originate and end in Nevada, would be illegal.
The Journal adds: "In addition to banning mobile sports wagering, the bill would also make illegal off-site Internet servers using a virtual private network that many older casinos employ to operate their slot machines’ server-based gaming systems.
“By making licensed and regulated online gaming illegal, the bill is counterproductive."
RAWA is currently before the federal House Judiciary Committee, with a Senate version reportedly due for introduction soon.
Approached by the LVRJ, a spokesman for Adelson's Las Vegas Sands group declined to comment. CG Technology, which handles mobile sports wagering products and manages the race and sports books for LVS properties, also declined comment.
Station Casinos, Will Hill USA, Boyd Gaming Corp., and South Point all offer mobile sports wagering applications for their race and sports book customers.