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Nevada Leads Movement for U.S. Poker

The United States online poker movement suffered a major setback at the end of last year when the Reid-Kyl Bill died in the chaotic floor of Congress. The prospect of federal regulation disappeared along with the bill and further uncertainty settled into one of the largest potential markets for online poker. Facing a major setback, Nevada, the home state of Senator Harry Reid, will become the starting point for the legislation of interstate online poker in the United States.

In his Annual State Address, Governor Brian Sandoval called upon the state legislature to amend the current online gaming regulations to allow operators to accept wagers from other states. Governor Sandoval stressed the significant revenue potential for online gambling and urged the state legislature to pass a bill within 30 days.  He called Nevada “the gold standard of both gaming regulation and operation” and he intended “to see to it that our state will lead the world into this new frontier”.

Governor Sandoval’s address stressed the importance of the year 2013 in the creation of an online poker market. Nevada was the first state to regulate online poker and several major land based casino operations have partnered with international software companies and gaming operators. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has approved 13 licenses after issuing one to Caesar’s Interactive in December. During the licensing process, state officials and online gaming operators focused their attention on the Reid-Kyl Bill.

Facing the death of the Reid-Kyl Bill, the Nevada Gaming Control Board decided to lay the foundation for an interstate poker market. In December, the Gaming Control Board submitted a draft proposal for the legalization of interstate online poker. The bill would allow states to enter into contracts to allow interstate wagers. The state legislature plans to meet within the next month in order to vote on the groundbreaking amendments.    

Currently, Delaware is the only regulated state to have a provision for interstate compacts while a similar bill is awaiting Governor Chris Christie’s signature in New Jersey. California government officials have also initiated a grassroots campaign to regulate online poker in the most populous state in the country. Other states such as Iowa are considering such legislation, but no significant progress has been made in these jurisdictions.

Nevertheless, the online poker movement in the United States has found a new life and an avenue for its development.  Nevada, the center of United States gambling, will lead the charge for a nationwide poker network. This year will be a crucial year for laying the foundation for this interstate system and the battleground will begin in Nevada.

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