January 7, 2013 : STATE LEGISLATORS GIVEN ADVICE ON INTERNET GAMING
Achieve extensive regulatory experience, keep up with technology and prepare for opposition, legislators advised
This year's get-together of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States showed that there has been no lessening of enthusiasm for the introduction of various forms of online gambling in several states; if anything, it showed that interest has intensified as the threat of federally imposed laws grew and then diminished as the year ended.
Advising the 100-some delegates in the closing session of the NCLGS conference, which was held over three days in Las Vegas, a panel of high-powered online gambling lawyers and experts recommended that they keep ahead of the technology curve, ensure they were well-versed and served by regulatory knowledge and experience and to be prepared for plenty of dissension and argument.
The local newspaper Las Vegas Sun reports that the conference was attended by regulators from 21 states, one Canadian province and lawmakers from Washington, D.C., along with representatives of several American tribal operators.
The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States has publicly opposed a federal solution to online gambling on grounds that it interferes with states’ rights in the oversight of public policy within their borders. It has notified political leaders in Washington of its position in the past and again this year, when the Reid-Kyl online poker federal legalization initiative looked as if it might have a chance.
In the event it didn't .
When the Department of Justice reversed its policy on internet gambling in terms of the Wire Act in December 2011, admitting that the Act applied only to online sports betting, many legislators looking for new sources of tax revenue started seriously investigating online gambling options in various forms, usually as an adjunct to state lottery activity.
That interest has grown, leading several state lotteries to express their opposition to the Reid-Kyl bill, which sought to legalise online poker whilst specifically outlawing most other forms of online gambling.
One panelist told delegates that individual states setting up a regulatory authority would need at least a year for it to be effective. There were detailed and complicated processes involved in setting up and maintaining appropriate regulations, licensee vetting and policing, he said.
Another warned that online gambling technology was a dynamic and evolving issue that demanded constant regulatory attention, which was why she favoured a state-by-state solution rather than one imposed by federal legalization and run by federal agencies. States were more likely to ensure that regulations kept pace with technology, she opined.
Swimming against the tide, one panelist suggested that state legislators continue to regard online gambling as an illegal and exploitive activity.