The Fight: Nevada Intrastate Gambling, Caesars/888

This week on The Fight, Nevada proposed a series of bills related to Internet gambling and Caesars Entertainment moved closer to establishing a relationship with an offshore gaming company that would meet the state’s approval.

Three bills in Nevada’s state legislature were introduced this week, each having their own twist on what is referred to as “interactive gaming”. The first bill, SB103, sets a series of guidelines for interactive gaming service providers to act on the behalf of licensed Nevada casinos. The next bill, SB218, makes several amendments to gaming regulations. The relevant change for Internet gambling interest include the operation of hosting centers for the operating of gaming systems.

The third piece of legislation, AB258, is an Internet poker-only bill that was introduced at the request of Richard Perkins, former Speaker of the Assembly now hired as a lobbyist by PokerStars. What makes the matter so controversial to some casino interests, especially Caesars Entertainment, are a series of provisions included in the legislation. The legislation creates the possibility of allowing players from other states that specifically have not prohibited online poker from taking part in the site. Also mentioned in the bill is that sites that are currently offering online poker in the US would not be considered “bad actors” and therefore they could establish a presence in the state without being subject to a blackout period, like the federal legislation offered by Nevada Senator Harry Reid proposed last year. The main voice against the proposed legislation is Caesars Entertainment hoping for another victory against intrastate online gambling after a veto by New Jersey governor Chris Christie last week. In an article on the legislation Jan Jones — former mayor of Las Vegas and currently senior vice president of communications and public relations for Caesars Entertainment — said: “Our focus is not intrastate, our focus is interstate. It’s federal, it’s putting together an American, an appropriate regulation and licensing regime and taking the jobs and revenues going to foreign companies and bringing it back to America.”

The day before the trio of Nevada legislation items were introduced, Caesars Interactive received an approval of their application of suitability with 888 Enterprises’ subsidiary Dragonfish from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Since signing an agreement with Dragonfish in September 2009, Caesars Interactive has requested Nevada state regulators approval per the state’s Foreign Gaming Act, complicated by the fact that 888 had offered Internet poker and gambling in the US until passage of the UIGEA in 2006. The Nevada Gaming Commission will have final say in a hearing on March 24. If approved, it would become the first deal by Nevada between a state-licensed gaming company and a foreign-based Internet gambling operator.

Further developments in this space as they develop over the coming weeks.

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Kevin Mathers

Widely known by his twitter handle "Kevmath", many consider Kevin a go-to source for news and information in the poker community. Kevin finished on the bubble in the 2014 edition of the BLUFF Power 20.
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