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Nevada Inching Closer To Larger Player Pools For Online Poker

Regulators Hold Workshop To Discuss Necessary Amendments


It has been speculated that Nevada and New Jersey could share their respective populations for online gambling starting sometime next year, and on Wednesday Nevada regulators discussed some of the changes that would need to occur to the rules currently on the books in order to make something like that possible.

The Internet gaming regulations in the Silver State, which were first adopted in December 2011, would need to be amended in order to allow for such deals to be brokered.

“I can’t enter into any compacts or agreements with other states until the Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission adopt regulations to allow me to do so,” Sandoval told Vegas Inc Tuesday. “We have had preliminary conversations with other states, but there is nothing I can do until the regulations are adopted, which I understand may happen next month.”

Earlier this year, Sandoval signed legislation that allows for such partnerships. Online poker was legalized in Nevada’s borders in the summer of 2011. Since then, only one firm – Station Casinos – has offered such a product. Though, more are expected soon, including games from the World Series of Poker, a Caesars Entertainment entity.

Bally and IGT are two tech firms that have explicitly expressed interest to gaming regulators about the desire to offer progressive jackpots across state lines in the online gambling realm. A lawyer for the two firms presented a petition to the Control Board during the workshop.

As Sandoval alluded to, more hearings on the proposals are scheduled for next month.

Card Player recently spoke to former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli about how state deals might look. He said that “far-reaching” compacts would not be ideal.

“I would say that it’s likely that state-to-state, multiple-market initiatives will begin in 2014,” he said. “It’s a little more challenging to peg which states. I’m a believer that we’re going to see states begin to compact with each other or even allow cross-border access to markets, and maybe it wouldn’t even require a compact of any kind. That’s a likely thing to occur.”

When asked about such a Nevada-New Jersey deal, Nevada lawmaker William Horne told Card Player, “There’s a desire in both jurisdictions to get something done.” He added that it would be a “wonderful collaboration.”

While the process might seem complex to the casual observer, hashing out the rules to make Nevada fully capable of a deal with New Jersey, or any other jurisdiction, is actually quite straightforward, according to Horne.

“I wouldn’t anticipate it being too difficult because both [Nevada and New Jersey] have a strong track record with gaming regulation.” Horne said. “It shouldn’t take too long.”

To put it simply, Nevada’s gambling firms having access to populations outside of the state is inevitable. Officials just have to hammer out the specifics, which shouldn’t be too far away. Online poker run in and from the Silver State should soon get a strong boost, not only from more operators in the market but also more players.