The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has released proposed amendments to its gaming laws that would prepare the ground for regulating online poker. The proposals will go through a series of ‘regulatory workshops’ (the first of which is scheduled for Sept. 26) at which public input will be sought. NGCB chairman Mark Lipparelli expects it to be “a rigorous process, and these regulations will, no doubt, undergo a good deal of revision.” The amendments (which can be viewed in their entirety here) chiefly consist of adding phrases like “interactive gaming systems” into existing regs, but there are a few noteworthy bits.
In case anyone had their doubts, the “components of an interactive gaming system” must be located in Nevada, “except as otherwise permitted by the [NGCB] chairman or his designee”. But the NGCB has not ruled out the possibility that a US online poker system would allow international liquidity. As part of their duties, licensed operators need only prohibit gamblers “from engaging in interactive gaming from a state or foreign jurisdiction in which interactive gaming is illegal.” And for those foreign jurisdictions where it’s legal?
“An operator of interactive gaming licensee that intends to offer interactive gaming from Nevada to individuals located in jurisdictions outside Nevada shall submit a request for administrative approval to the chairman, on such forms as the chairman may require, to begin such interstate interactive gaming. The chairman shall conduct a review of the operator of interactive gaming’s operations to ensure that it is able to comply with these regulations and all other applicable state and federal laws.”
While the latter paragraph specifically mentions ‘interstate’ action, the earlier mention of ‘foreign jurisdictions’ suggests that while qualified foreign operators would have to install their servers within Nevada’s borders, foreign poker players would not necessarily be excluded from dipping their toes into the US liquidity pool from the comfort of their foreign living rooms. Without US reciprocity to operators in foreign countries, this would basically be a massive violation of global trade standards, but it wouldn’t be the first time the US has ‘gone rogue’ on the WTO.
At any rate, Nevada’s plans are wholly contingent on poker legislation passing at the federal level, a previously insurmountable task that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has nonetheless promised “will get done” this fall. On that note, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Reid will take part in a lecture series at Southern Utah University on Sept. 1, at which he’s promised to make “a special announcement.” Could Reid be planning to unveil his 2011 online poker bill in the one landlocked US state that permits no gambling? Weirder things have happened…