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Nevada Gaming Control Board holds hearing for amended online poker regulations

Issues such as player-to-player transfers, Nevada's Black Book addressed

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Grant Sawyer Building in Las VegasA Thursday State Gaming Control Board hearing in Las Vegas saw officials look into possible changes to a new batch of regulatory drafts for Nevada-based online poker.

One of the proposals currently states that a licensed operator may not allow player-to-player transfers — a practice that has historically been a common method to facilitate staking deals between players — within an online poker site.

Board Chairman Mark A. Lipparelli said he doesn’t want online gaming sites to serve as “shadow banking.” The general concern expressed was that player accounts could circumvent financial institutions.

Gil White, a lawyer associated with 888 Holdings, an online gaming company that early this year was found suitable to have a partnership with Caesars Entertainment, gave testimony in support of Nevada’s efforts to establish a regulatory framework for the industry.

“It’s unfortunate that a country that gave birth to the Internet, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, is stuck in [online gaming] prohibition,” White said.

He said that 888 plans to develop a “commercial footprint” in the Silver State by opening up a facility for logistical purposes.

Lipparelli acknowledged that the state’s regulators are taking the advice of those who have experience in licensed markets around the world, but that Nevada will be “consistent with its past regulatory commitment.”

The hearing also addressed the infamous gaming Black Book and the question of whether it would apply to the online realm. Board members seemed to agree that it would be relevant since excluding certain individuals would likely be easier than in brick-and-mortar operations.

The Board did not take any formal action on the amended regulations, which were released last week, but Lipparelli said that it will happen in December when the Gaming Commission meets. He admitted that the proposals still need “clarity” in the upcoming weeks.

“We are in the official stage of launching into this,” Lipparelli said.

This past summer, Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation that mandates the adoption of interactive gaming regulations by January 2012.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus