The Nevada state legislature unanimously passed Assembly Bill 360 on Monday, putting the state on a path toward striking online gambling compacts not only with other US states, but tribal and foreign governments as well. The bill (read it here), which was introduced in the Assembly in March, is designed to help flesh out the parameters of the state’s ability to enter into interstate compacts with other online gambling jurisdictions, as authorized by the AB 114 legislation that Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law in February.
In March, Nevada invited stakeholders to submit comments regarding its interstate plans, and among these was a complaint by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) that language authorizing compacts beyond US borders had been removed from AB 114’s final text. Well, apparently the AGCC has more pull than one might think – or Nevada legislators have belatedly realized that internet connections extend beyond America’s shores – because the approved AB 360 language has replaced the word ‘state’ with the far broader ‘jurisdiction.’
AB 360 defines eligible compact partners as “any governmental unit of a national, state or local body exercising governmental functions, other than the United States Government. This term includes, without limitation, national and subnational governments, including their respective departments, agencies and instrumentalities and any department, agency or authority of any such governmental unit that has authority over gaming and gambling activities.”
(Technically speaking, such relationships already exist, as demonstrated by numerous World Trade Organization rulings that Antigua’s online gambling industry has a right to offer their services to US residents. But we digress…)
As for the possibility that other governments might not define ‘bad actors’ in the same restrictive Nevada sense – and thus allow nefarious scoundrels like PokerStars to backdoor their way into breathing the same rarefied air as Nevada-approved operators – AB 360 requires compact-signatory governments to prohibit operators from taking part unless they are found to be suitable “pursuant to requirements that are materially consistent with the corresponding requirements” laid down by Nevada law.
By chance, Nevada legislators approved AB 360 on the same day New Jersey gaming regulators began the 60-day public comment period on the state’s online gambling regulations. Stakeholders will have until Aug. 2 to submit their thoughts, suggestions and/or incoherent ravings.