The state of Nevada is moving forward with a bill that would set up a regulated online gambling industry. The bill, however, would only go into effect if the federal prohibition against online gambling is lifted in the future.
The House Ways and Means Committee was discussing AB258, a bill that would require the Nevada Gaming Commission to begin creating laws regarding online poker. The bill originally had a stipulation that PokerStars would not be denied a license. After a federal indictment several weeks ago involving PokerStars executives, that stipulation has been removed from the bill.
The removal of PokerStars as a possible licensee is ironic considering that it is PokerStars lobbyist that have been driving the online gambling bill in Nevada. With uncertainty surrounding PokerStars, Nevada lawmakers were unwilling to overlook the stipulation in the first draft of the bill.
Land-based casinos would be the biggest beneficiary should online gambling become regulated in Nevada. The legislation moving through the Assembly would require that online sites form a partnership with existing gaming license holders. An outside source could also be used, but the outside source would have to have been in business for at least five years.
The online gambling industry as a whole has been rocked by the recent US indictments of executives of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. It has been estimated that those three sites accounted for over ninety percent of US online poker players. That has left millions of players looking for new poker outlets.
“There is a need now more than ever for some US jurisdiction to step up and regulate online poker,” said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. “Whether it be at a federal or state level, the first jurisdiction to regulate the industry will be looked at as a savior, and the lawmakers responsible for such regulation could benefit greatly in their political careers.”