Nevada approves regulations for outsourcing technology testing for online poker

nevada-lab-testing-online-pokerThe Nevada Gaming Commission (GC) has decided to issue a gaming license to Florida-based Margaritaville Holdings LLC, whose chairman is none other than singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. A casino named after Buffett’s cloyingly endurable 1970s hit Margaritaville opened inside the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip in October, in partnership with Caesars Entertainment. Caesars’ personnel operate the casino while Buffett’s company manages the adjoining restaurant, but the new license will allow Buffett to share in the gaming revenue, so long as he promises to never sing again. (Okay, we added that last bit.)

The GC also issued a wagering service provider license to Global Cash Access Inc., a local firm that provides automated teller machines and other cash services for the vast majority of Nevada’s casinos. CEO Scott Betts told Gambling Compliance the company was studying methods of adapting their business model to work with Nevada’s soon-to-be intrastate online poker sector.

Speaking of… Nevada’s recently revived Gaming Policy Committee has announced the date for its first meeting in a quarter-century. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the 11-member committee (selected by Gov. Brian Sandoval in January) will sit down on Wednesday (28) at the Clark County Government Center. Top of the agenda is a ‘status update’ on the state’s online poker plans.

But the big news out of Nevada this week was the GC’s approval of regulations to permit independent labs to test casino gaming devices and online gaming technology. By a unanimous vote, the GC authorized the outsourcing of 100% of Nevada’s testing responsibilities, meaning 10 state employees are now out of work (and this in a state whose unemployment rate is the highest in the country – just sayin’). Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) chairman Mark Lipparelli defended the move, pointing out that most states outsourced their testing long ago. “This is a very successful, tried and true model.” State regulators will still be required to sign off on the labs’ results. The new rules take effect on May 1.

The hope is that independent labs, which are more flexible in terms of staffing allocations, will be better equipped to handle the expected onslaught of testing requirements as Nevada launches its intrastate online poker plans. Gaming Labs International and BMM Compliance – the latter’s founder, Travis Foley, was once the GCB’s technology chief – have already applied to handle Nevada’s testing needs, and Lipparelli expects more companies will be submitting applications in due course.