by SCOT JENKINS
People play poker, and people use the Internet, so why wait for the Federal Government to say the two combined are legal?
That was the rationale of Governor Sandoval and both the Assembly and Senate Judiciary committees, who signed Assembly Bill 114 today, which will allow interstate online poker to exist in Nevada.
“The bill is not a partisan issue, it is a Nevada issue,” said Assembly Majority Leader, William Horne. “As everyone knows, Nevada’s primary industry is gaming. What you may not know is that we are becoming a leader in the technology industry as well. Forbes listed Las Vegas number 6 on its Top 10 Tech Hotspots list in January this year.”
Governor Sandoval called the bill “necessary” in taking the next step of allowing the state’s most important industry to enter the online frontier.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that it only took less than eight hours to hold a hearing, vote, and have the bill signed. Sandoval asked lawmakers to pass the bill within thirty days of the legislative session earlier this year – and for a good reason.
Nevada isn’t the only state talking about creating interstate compacts, just the first to actually sign a bill. According to the governor’s speech on Thursday, being quick was critical.
“It is vital that we move quickly, not to be the first for the sake of being first, but to do so to ensure that we continue to be responsive to the opportunities presented by the changes in technology and the gaming culture,” Sandoval says.
This doesn’t mean that just anyone can start an online poker site. Of course licenses will be needed, and this bill only allows for “resort hotels that have a nonrestrictive license to operate games and gaming devices.” It could, however, bolster the brand names of existing Nevada brick-and-mortar resort casinos and “maximize Nevada’s exposure around the world”.
Governor Sandoval said the bill is “an important and historical step in our state’s proud history of leading the world in the regulation of gaming.”