The state of Nevada looks to be in pole position to become the online casino capital of the world if a bill to legalize internet gaming in the USA is approved by congress.
Nevada, which legalised casinos back in 1931, is all set to become the regulatory base for online casino gaming if congress approves the bill, with experts claiming that the state has the infrastructure necessary to regulate the industry.
Should online gambling get the go-ahead from congress, the industry is likely to face tough regulations, with operators expected to use technology that offers reasonable assurance that wagers would not be accepted from states where online gambling is prohibited and that minors could not access the sites.
And Nevada gaming regulators, who already regulates interactive gaming at a state level, could cash in on the new bill, with online businesses forced to pay upfront fees as well as being taxed at the same rate as Strip casinos, currently 6.75% on gaming revenues.
Although the state’s casino cash boost could be postponed until next year, with the bill being pushed back by congress as the economic crisis and healthcare reforms currently dominate political debates.
“(Debate on the bill) probably won’t happen this year,” said former Sen. Richard Bryan, an attorney with Lionel Sawyer & Collins, who spent 12 years representing Nevada in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat.
“My sense, however, is that there is a gathering, gradual momentum where, eventually, Internet gaming will occur and be regulated,” Bryan said. “I’m just not sure if it has reached critical mass yet.”
But Mr Bryan and fellow Lionel Sawyer & Collins attorney Greg Gemignani claim that they have been approached by potential clients who want to set up Internet gambling businesses in Nevada, should the activity be legalized, and that Nevada is best placed to control the industry.
“The suitability requirements under the current bill look like a subset of what Nevada already requires,” Gemignani said. “Given Nevada’s current laws permitting interactive gaming licensing, Nevada is well-placed to be at the forefront of regulating online gaming and providing assistance to the federal government in determining the suitability of applicants.”