Nevada Governor Wants Quick Passage of Interstate Online Poker
In the absence of action on online poker regulation at the federal level, Nevada has come out as a pioneer in the regulation of the game at the state level, having passed a law last year allowing for its residents to log onto online poker sites and access real-money online poker games as long as they are physically present in the Silver State.
Nevada is, of course, not alone in offering expanded gambling to residents, nor is it the only state to pass an online poker law. Delaware has, as well, and the gears are in motion in New Jersey – more on that topic below – to follow suit. California, Pennsylvania, and Iowa are also considering offering online poker to residents, and online gambling experts imagine that as 2013 unfolds, more and more states will take a hard look at allowing residents to play online poker, which would offer a new revenue stream to cash-strapped states by means of a so-called “found” tax.
Now, Nevada’s Governor, Brian Sandoval, is pushing for the state legislature to act rapidly to pass a law that would go a step further by allowing Nevada to enter into interstate poker deals with other states that have also legalized the game. This would allow the major casino companies in Nevada, many of which have already been licensed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to open online poker rooms in order to broaden their markets to include players outside of Nevada.
In a memo to state lawmakers, Sandoval, himself the former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and its youngest-ever at that, said, “Nevada has always been the gold standard of both gaming regulation and agreements, and I intend to see to it that our state will lead the world into this new frontier.”
Sandoval is pushing the legislature to move the bill through within 30 days. Nevada has seen a decline in gambling revenue, and many in the state, including powerful Senator Harry Reid, who has lobbied vociferously on Capitol Hill for federal movement on the issue but has said that its prospects appear bleak for the near future, believe that the state can capitalize on gaining an early position in the burgeoning online poker market in the United States.
Today was also a very important day for followers of New Jersey gambling law, with Republican Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoing the online gambling bill passed by the state legislature late last year. Running up to today, the final deadline for Christie to either act on the bill or allow it to go into effect automatically, rumors had been swirling as to which way Christie would go. He vetoed a similar bill back in 2011.
A conditional veto essentially means that the Governor has requested changes and will send the bill back to the legislature for a vote on the proposed amendments. Presumably the Governor will sign the bill if the changes are passed. Among other modifications, Governor Christie has asked for a tax rate increase on casinos from ten percent to fifteen percent in addition to asking that the bill expire after ten years, at which time the issue would come back to the forefront.
Christie’s statement on the matter, however, indicated his cognizance that the online gambling bill is of vital economic importance to New Jersey, especially to Atlantic City, a gambling hub that has seen its revenue decline for the last six straight years and its position as the number two gambling market in the United States usurped by neighboring Pennsylvania.
In his written statement, Christie said, in part, “Since the beginning of my administration, I have stressed the importance of reversing the trend of economic contraction in Atlantic City and have made the revitalization of the region’s gaming and tourism industries a key priority.”