The Great Race: Legal Online Poker Advances in Nevada, Hawaii Legislatures


The Nevada Assembly Committee on Judiciary met on March 24, 2011, to discuss AB 258, which would provide for the licensing and operation of Internet poker in Nevada for the first time.

Committee members were, not surprisingly, interested in the possible benefit or harm to Nevada’s existing bricks-and-mortar gaming industry from the legislation – such as the possible creation of new jobs, or the loss of existing dealer jobs.

Supporters of the bill noted that Nevada is a longstanding leader in the gaming industry, that it has licensing authorities in place to regulate online poker operators, and that since some state will eventually legalize online poker, it would be best for Nevada to get out in front of the pack. Should Nevada be the first state to legalize online poker, the associated jobs and tax revenues would benefit Nevadans.

The Committee heard from supporters of the bill that online poker does not violate the federal Wire Act because it is not a wager and it is a game of skill, not chance. Notably, the proposed bill would not prohibit offshore operators who have already offered online poker to Nevada residents from applying for a gaming license. The reason is that Nevada wants to attract the offshore companies, who are now the major and most experienced participants in the industry.

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