Nevada Online Poker in 7-10 Months, Regulator Says
Internet Gaming Security Main Topic at Industry Meeting in Las Vegas
Americans could see the first U.S.-based licensed and regulated real-money poker site this holiday season.
At Monday’s Gaming Policy Committee meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said that the Silver State will likely issue its first licenses in 30-60 days — and it will probably take another six to eight months after that before games are running.
At the last meeting, Lipparelli suggested a slightly earlier date for licenses. The majority of time will be devoted to regulators approving the technology of licensed sites. This spring, the state finalized rules for the private testing of software.
Despite efforts from a handful of other states, Nevada remains the only jurisdiction in the country where online poker is legislatively authorized.
The convergence of gaming insiders on Monday centered on the issue of security in the online realm. Bwin.party Digital Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan gave an extensive presentation in front of the 11-member panel headed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
In his speech, Ryan highlighted the success of his company’s efforts to mitigate concerns of fraud, player collusion and underage gambling in Europe. He said that out of one million unique users per month, there are 10 cases of underage players making it through their layers of security.
The Silver State is still trying to figure out how to create synergy between policy makers and businesses on the issue of identity verification.
When Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Bernard asked Ryan about the possibility of a uniform system to regulate player registration issues, the CEO said that the industry prefers having “flexibility.”
Bernard referred to it as poker sites “policing” themselves.
However, both Ryan and MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren — whose company has a partnership with Bwin.party to eventually run games — admitted that they’d like a “centralized list” of individuals who, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be eligible to play online. The list would included “fraudsters” and those who have self-excluded, for example.
In response to Gov. Sandoval’s concern about residents of neighboring states logging into Nevada’s intrastate system, Ryan said that current geo-location technology is 99.8 percent accurate.
At one point during his presentation, Gov. Sandoval lightheartedly asked Ryan to slow down for benefit of the recorder. Ryan responded: “I’m just excited to be here.”
After leaving the U.S. market in the wake of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, the publicly-traded company looks to be a huge player in its return — regardless of whether it’s under a state-by-state patchwork or a federal regime. Bwin.party recently struck a deal with a California tribe in anticipation of a bill in the Golden State.
Despite Nevada’s progress, Lipparelli said Monday that he still prefers a federal law.
The purpose of the resurrected Gaming Policy Committee is to make recommendations for the next legislative session. Murren said he’d like to see tweaks to the state’s online poker bill — which include increasing license terms and possibly reducing the fees.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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