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Nevada License Fee Increase May Thwart Legislation

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is pushing for state lawmakers to quickly approve legislation allowing interstate compacts, but those efforts are being hampered by Majority Leader William Horne’s proposal to increase online poker license fees.

Horne has Sandoval’s backing in rapidly moving along the interstate amendment that would permit Nevada to increase player pools by teaming with other states such as Delaware and perhaps New Jersey in operating online poker sites. However, Horne has proposed a license fee increase from $500,000 to $1 million and would also like to bump the renewal fee up to $500,000 from $250,000. According to eGaming Review, Sandoval is not in favor of the proposed increase and is aiming to resolve the matter shortly.

“We are selling ourselves cheap,” Horne said about the license fees. “We have this Lexus product and we’re putting this Saturn price tag on it.”

Horne is concerned that Nevada’s Internet poker license fees are woefully low and will not remain competitive with other states that are considering online gambling legislation. Horne does have a point, as the Silver State license fees are considerably lower than those found in proposed legislation in other states. However, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee debated the issue last year and decided the current fees are adequate.

Many observers believe that passing legislation quickly and becoming the hub of the online gaming industry may be more beneficial financially in the long run than assessing license fees that may be lower than industry standards. And since online gambling legislation in the U.S. is still in its infancy, those standards have not yet been established.

Horne’s bill also would like to preclude online poker operators who previously catered to the U.S. marketplace from obtaining an Internet gaming license in Nevada. That is seemingly in direct contrast to the bill in New Jersey that Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed and will be voted on by the state legislature on Feb. 26. Garden State lawmakers initially did have a bad actor clause in the online gambling legislation, but amended it so that PokerStars could bid on a faltering Atlantic City casino and enter the Internet gambling market in the state.

Horne’s legislation requires a two-thirds majority to vote in favor of the bill for passage, which likely won’t happen without Sandoval’s support.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.