New Online Poker Bill in Nevada

Add Nevada to the list of states considering regulating Internet poker to help bring much-needed revenues into government coffers.
It’s no surprise that Nevada, with its gambling-oriented culture, would make this move — especially considering its recent approval of a deal between Caesars and 888. But what is surprising is that the idea would allow residents and non-residents alike to play.
“[The bill] prohibits the Nevada Gaming Commission from denying a license to existing poker sites such as PokerStars, which have been operating in a legal gray area after a federal law effectively banned online gambling in 2006,” reports Michelle Rindels for the Associated Press.
Yesterday, members of Nevada’s state assembly introduced the draft bill, AB258, which is focused on online poker only. It “would not make online casino games like blackjack and roulette legal, as players bet against the house,” Rindels explains. “In poker, players gamble only against each other while the house takes a small fee from each pot for hosting the game. Poker proponents argue the game is more skill than luck.”
The act would require “the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt regulations relating to the licensing and operation of Internet poker; and providing other matters properly relating thereto,” per the draft bill itself (via the Las Vegas Sun).
The bill couldn’t come at a better time. Las Vegas has experienced its third straight month of declining revenues — and that’s only part of a much lareconomic recession that’s gripped the casino mecca for the past several years. As the latest result of that recession, it was announced today that the famous Sahara Hotel and Casino would be closing its doors in May.
The bill was introduced by “Assembly Majority Whip William Horne at the behest of former Speaker Richard Perkins, who represents,” writes Jon Ralston at the Las Vegas Sun. “It is being portrayed as an intrastate web gaming bill, but it clearly would allow those in other jurisdictions to play, mandating state regulators set up a structure.”
Ralston underlines those parts of the draft bill that pertain to inter-state online gambling: “The Commission is authorized to enter into compacts with other jurisdictions where interactive gaming is not prohibited, setting forth the manner in which the State of Nevada and such other jurisdictions will regulate and share tax revenues from interactive gaming operations between such jurisdictions and enforce criminal laws related to cheating, tax evasion or unlicensed interactive gaming, and authorizing the commingling of games and pots between such jurisdictions. Such compacts may be limited to Internet poker.”
Ralston also points out that this is in violation of the UIGEA, stating “that is one of many questions sure to be raised.”