Sandoval asked the Legislature to take quick action on the bill, saying Nevada must continue to be a leader in the gambling industry.
"No opportunity is as rich with promise as our primary industry, gaming," he said.
Gambling has long been an important revenue generator for the state, which does not impose a state income tax. State regulators have granted online gambling licenses to at least 17 casino and technology companies, and more are seeking licenses.
These companies may "play in the sandbox" of Nevada's 2.8 million residents and Las Vegas' 39 million annual visitors for a time, but, the industry will eventually need to expand to continue to interest investors and players, said Dave Schwartz, director of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.
Among the industry players eagerly watching Assembly Bill 5 is Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, who plans to launch a real-money poker site that will accept wagers from laptops and smartphones within the state's borders this year.
"This is peer-to-peer game, so you want your customers when they go online to actually be able to get a game of poker going" he said.
"It becomes much more exciting if the player pool is 100,000, not 10,000, and if you can actually go online and win $1 million, not $10,000."
Lawmakers will consider several other bills introduced this session on behalf of the Gaming Control Board:
__Assembly Bill 7 would expand the Gaming Policy Committee to 11 members by adding a representative from academia. The bill would also allow the governor, who chairs the policy committee, to establish a subcommittee on education. The new subcommittee would consist of no more than five members, and would evaluate all gambling-related educational institutions, among other duties.
—Assembly Bill 10 would update state law on counterfeit chips and tools used to cheat. Among other technical revisions, the bill specifies that it is crime to possess counterfeit gambling chips and to manufacture tools intended, but not actually used, for cheating.
—Senate Bill 10 would allow the Gaming Control Board to charge casinos and other gambling companies for the costs of investigating overpayments. Currently, companies can ask for refunds of state taxes and fees they have overpaid. This bill would allow the state to bill companies for the costs of evaluating refund requests.
Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier