The three-member panel Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) visited Macau last week and sat down with Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau officials in that gambling mecca to develop a relationship that hopefully benefits both agencies.
GCB Chairman A.G. Burnett, Shawn Reid and Terry Johnson made the trip to the largest gambling market worldwide and attended a number of meetings designed to gather facts and work on establishing a rapport in which gaming officials from both gambling hotspots can compare notes and cooperate in the future, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Burnett, recently appointed GCB chairman by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval following the departure of chairman Mark Lipparelli last Autumn, labeled the meetings "a complete success." Burnett had previously ventured to Macau while serving as the control board's assistant chief of corporate securities. Reid and Johnson were making their first trip to that part of the world and Burnett called it a "great opportunity" for his fellow board members to see how their Macau counterparts operate.
The trio also traveled to Hong Kong "to understand how the region regulates the gaming industry," Burnett added.
Wynn Resorts Ltd., MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands operate casinos in both Macau and Las Vegas. All three have each been approved to build another casino in Macau, with MGM and Wynn set to break ground on the Cotai Strip while the Sands' project is already underway.
The GCB has been quite busy as of late, scrutinizing applications submitted by companies hoping to be approved for licensing in Nevada's intrastate online poker regime. Prior to making time for their Macau trip, the control board recommended that Lottomatica and Sartini Synergy be approved for licenses. The Nevada Gaming Commission will make a final decision on those recommendations shortly.
Thus far, 17 interactive gaming licenses have been awarded in Nevada, with roughly a dozen of those permitted to actually operate an online poker site. The first sites may be operating as soon as this Spring. However, Nevada's current law allows for players to be culled only from within Nevada's borders. An amendment to the statute has been proposed that would allow the Silver State to partner with other states who have also passed online gambling regulations. In his recent State of the State address, Gov. Sandoval urged lawmakers to pass that proposal within 30 days so that Nevada "will lead the world into this new frontier" of interstate online poker.