Following its appeal to the public soliciting advice on regulating interstate online poker, the Nevada Gaming Commission has published all comments received.
In March, the commission posted a
Notice of Request for Comments on its website that sought input on how to best regulate compacts between states. Silver State gaming officials were mostly concerned with the issues of sharing revenue among participating states and which state should carry the burden of solving disputes between players located in different states. However, suggestions related to other interstate compact issues were also solicited for consideration.
A total of 15 comments were received by the April 12 deadline and two additional replies to comments came in prior to the April 19 cutoff date. Caesars Entertainment, bwin.party digital entertainment, 888 Holdings, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, and SHFL Entertainment were among the parties who chose to advise the commission on how to best proceed with its interstate online poker scheme.
Some of those companies, such as 888 and bwin.party, have had experience with player pools being combined throughout a number of jurisdictions. Both gaming companies operate extensively in Europe. As such, it was suggested by 888 Holdings Chief Operating Officer Itai Frieberger that revenue allocation should be determined by a player’s physical location. This method appears to be the simplest to implement and has worked successfully up until now, Frieberger stated.
SHFL Entertainment suggested that a main datacenter be created to carry out certain administrative functions that might be duplicated and much too costly if each state were to shoulder the burdens alone.
Although most comments were made on behalf of gaming companies, a handful of individuals without direct ties to corporations elected to add their two cents in. One such individual was Dave Stewart, who suggested to gaming officials that Nevada should amend their legislation to permit players from all 50 states to legally play online poker, excluding states such as Utah and Washington who already have laws on the books forbidding it. While online players throughout the U.S. would certainly be in favor of Stewart’s suggestion, it appears such a regime would need to be enacted on the federal level due to legal reasons.
All 17 comments in their entirety can be read at the Nevada Gaming Commission website at www.gaming.nv.gov. The commission has indicated that a regulatory workshop will be held sometime in the future to discuss and consider the suggestions received.
Nevada enacted intrastate online poker regulations in late 2011. But with a small population of less than 3 million that ranks 35th in the U.S., lawmakers found it necessary to amend the legislation earlier this year to allow for interstate partnership agreements that will increase player liquidity.
The first online poker sites are expected to launch in Nevada this summer and will be confined to state residents and tourists until Delaware and/or New Jersey also roll out their Internet poker offerings perhaps later this year. Interstate compacts between two or all three states are likely. With other states such as California, Illinois and Pennsylvania also considering online gambling legislation, the need for interstate regulations that include revenue allocation and other compact arrangements is needed.
Whether the Nevada Gaming Commission has finalized a plan for drafting the new regulations will be determined following the regulatory workshop. However, many of those who submitted comments indicated a desire to continue to assist state gaming officials with additional input and to be included with creating regulations to benefit the entire industry.