Nevada governor signs online gambling bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm •  Published: February 21, 2013
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Gambling regulators will now come up with regulations dictating compact parameters.

Lawmakers in 2011 passed a bill that put Nevada in position to legalize Internet gambling if the federal government sanctioned it. But when those efforts failed in Congress, Sandoval said Nevada would work toward agreements with other states.

Several other states began looking into online gambling after the Department of Justice issued a letter in 2011 stating that the federal Wire Act of 1961, often used to crack down on gambling over the Internet, only applies to sports betting.

Partnering with other states gives Nevada an expanded customer market and provides other states with Nevada's expertise in gambling regulation.

Pete Ernaut, a lobbyist representing the Nevada Resort Association, said expanding the customer base was key.

"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.

The benefit for other states, he said, is Nevada's "most mature regulatory infrastructure."

"We have the most mature financial, auditing and collection capabilities, much greater than some of those states, and they have the players," he said.

The bill approved Thursday resolved a disagreement between Horne and the governor's office over licensing fees. Sandoval had pushed for companies that want to offer online gambling to pay a $500,000 fee, while Horne, in the original bill draft, proposed $1 million.

Under a compromise, the fee was set at $500,000, though it gives the Nevada Gaming Commission authority to change the amount. A renewal fee was set at $250,000.

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Associated Press writer Hanna Dreier in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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