Online gambling has been a contentious issue recently in Nevada, prompting Governor Brian Sandoval to sign legislation on Thursday legalizing the practice in the state. The bill passed through the Assembly and Senate quickly, labeled an “emergency measure,” and now that it has gone through Legislature, online gambling is officially a legalized practice in the state of Nevada.
“This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada. Today I signed into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada,” said Sandoval. “This bill is critical to our state’s economy and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard for gaming regulation.”
This statement from Sandoval is telling, as Nevada has recently clamored to be the first state to make online gambling legal, beating out its casino rival New Jersey.
Las Vegas Democrat William Horne helped fast-track the bill, and commented on its passing, saying that the road to get to this point has been a long one.
“This was a lot of work and it couldn’t have been done without the governor’s leadership and vision,” said Horne. “As to our competitor, New Jersey, they should be accustomed to following Nevada.”
This last dig at the Garden State is one reason why some are opposed to the overwhelming attention this issue has received, as opposed to other pressing matters such as the Violence Against Women Act.
The state has received some flack for caring too much about its gambling competition with New Jersey, and letting other important issues take a backseat.
However, lobbyists for the Nevada Resort Association believe that the bill will greatly impact Nevada’s economy, something the state desperately needs.
One such lobbyist, Pete Ernaut, noted the importance of expanding the state’s customer base for gambling.
“It’s imperative for the success of this that we compact with other states because we don’t have a universe of players,” Ernaut said. “We have the most mature financial, auditing and collection capabilities, much greater than [other] states, and they have the players.”
By adding players to the Nevada gambling game, the state hopes to increase the revenue gambling brings in, while offering better regulation online to Internet Poker sites and online betting.
Specifically under the new bill, websites wishing to offer legal gambling to the state of Nevada will have to pay a fee of $500,000 to the Nevada Gaming Commission authority, and the amount can be changed at the commission’s discretion. To renew a gaming license, the fee is set at $250,000.
So far the state has reportedly received 20 applications from various operators, equipment and software vendors to be licensed for online gambling, and they expect the number to keep rising.
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