There has been a lot of action south of the border recently in the State of Nevada with regards to approving a bill that would legalize intrastate internet poker Bill AB 258, a first step towards establishing a legal online gaming framework for the State.
The original bill that was presented only weeks ago would allow a gaming operator licensed in Nevada to extend its reach to clients across international and interstate borders. The version that was passed on Tuesday no longer allows for international or interstate gambling which would have been a tax boon for the state, but now it’s strictly limited intrastate poker available to residents of Nevada. This will course present liquidity issues necessary to ensure a successful online poker network since only residents of the state can play against each other, however, it is seen as a first step towards preparing for a change at the federal level and when that eventually happens, Nevada companies will be ready according to Committee chair William Horne, who introduced the bill.
Companies like PokerStars and Full Tilt have recently aligned themselves with well-established land based Las Vegas casino groups like Wynn and Station Casinos to push for legalization in the State in hopes that it will allow them to operate within a legal framework in the US.
This news comes hot off the heels of the District of Columbia becoming the first jurisdiction in the United States to allow intrastate internet gambling. This will allow the D.C. Lottery to establish online poker and other internet games of chance and is estimated to bring in about $13 million in new revenues by 2014 for the State. Other States where similar initiatives are taking place are New Jersey, California, and Iowa. The states of Florida and Hawaii just announced they are staying clear of internet gaming at least temporarily amidst pressures.
The ultimate goal for the industry is to establish a nationwide approval of internet gaming but this has met ongoing resistance in congress and potential operators are anxiously waiting for Department of Justice to change its opinion on interstate gaming and a bill getting approved at a Federal level. Right now it’s a waiting game and the intrastate option could be a way of eventually achieving a national solution using baby steps when Senator Harry Reid finally introduces his federal licensing bill.