The Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would allow residents to play on a state-run online poker site. If the bill becomes law, the state would authorize the creation of its own online poker site pending actions from the US federal government to reform existing online poker laws.
The next step is to bring the bill before the full state Senate, where observers expect it to pass easily. The State Assembly, the legislature’s lower house, has already passed the bill and will review the Senate’s amendments before submitting it to Governor Brian Sandoval for his signature.
The law will allow the Nevada Gaming Commission to establish rules for licensing and taxing online poker site operators and players. The law would also lay out strict guidelines for the site to restrict access to minors, problem gamblers and non-state residents, as well as measures to protect player privacy and account balances.
The new law would also restrict license applicants to those companies who have established a partnership with a land-based casino operator that has been operating in the state for at least five years. This clause would give such casino companies as MGM Mirage, Caesars Entertainment and Station Casinos a head start in the licensing process.
Although current federal regulation would allow for states to create their own online gaming operations for residents, the Nevada law would not take effect until the federal government establishes the legal grounds for online poker. The seizure of several online poker domain names by federal authorities over the last six weeks has caused some hesitation among other states that were in the process of establishing their own online poker networks.