Nevada and Online Poker: A Budding Romance?

In the midst of the debate over online poker regulation at the US House of Representatives, online poker related entities seem to already be predicting that future legislation will fall their way. Positive expectations are high and companies around the world are preparing to start catering legal online poker services to US customers.
The latest news related to online poker legislation is that Nevada might start issuing online poker licenses for 2012. Last week Mark Lipparelli, the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Board, commented at the US Online Gaming Law Conference that Nevada will start taking applications for the 2012 licenses as soon as of February of next year.
Welcome to Fabulous Nevada… or Not?
Getting married in Nevada is fairly easy (right Britney Spears?), but not the same can be said about getting an online poker license. The process of obtaining a license to offer online poker services in Nevada is not so simple; Lipparelli stated that there are high standards that must be met by online poker operators in order to be granted a license. “We’re going to continue to be flexible, but we think we’ve set the bar high for licensing and suitability,” said Lipparelli.
In order to get a license, online poker operators must meet Nevada’s standards of fraud prevention, player protection, privacy, gaming quality, among others. Licensees would be required to maintain a revolving fund of $20,000 to pay for compliance investigations and do everything in their hands to prevent bot use. Players would not be allowed no do inter-account transfers and they are only allow to have one account with their real name.
The requirements may seem very strict, especially because they are not only imposed on the operators, but also on the players. However, in order to become the online gambling capital of the word Nevada must set the bar high and act as a role model. They have done a great job in being the brick and mortar gambling capital of the world, and it is expected that they will succeed in their online gambling journey as well.
Unfortunately, Divided They Stand
One must keep in mind that the US legislative system is divided in states, and getting legislation to pass for the whole country is a much more complex process. At the US Online Gaming Law Conference in Nevada there were several politicians and legislators, logically. Lipparelli’s comments were subject to questioning and clarification. Lipparelli was asked if this policy would contradict the UIGEA, to which he responded that the UIGEA doesn’t prohibit individual states from adopting different legislation within their jurisdiction. Everyone is positive that the state of Nevada will adopt regulation 5A in the near future so that the applications for licenses can start coming in.
This take on legislation would not allow interstate online poker unless the US Federal Government adopts similar legislation. Online poker operators with an online poker license in Nevada would only be allowed to offer services within state borders, and it would be deemed illegal to take their services outside. However, we can expect this regulation to have strong, full support by Nevada’s land-based gaming giants like Harrah’s and MGM as they plan to engage in online gambling ventures soon.
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