Online Poker License Fee Hike Proposed in Nevada

Posted on February 15th, 2013 by Todd Wilkins

Online Poker License Fee Hike Proposed in NevadaMajority Leader William Horne is proposing an increase in online poker license fees, which may stall the state’s push to allow for interstate partnerships.

Horne recently received Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support in carrying the interstate compact legislation that the governor deems a priority and would like to see passed quickly. Nevada’s population of roughly 2.7 million would likely not be large enough to make for a successful online poker scheme. Forging agreements with other states to improve player liquidity would solve that dilemma. But Horne’s desire to increase license fees of Internet gaming operators from $500,000 to $1 million and renewal fees from $250,000 to $500,000 is not supported by Sandoval.

According to a Sandoval spokesperson, the governor aims to resolve the license fee issue quickly to permit lawmakers to concentrate on the interstate online poker legislation. As the Nevada statute is written now, only intrastate poker is allowed and the approval of Congress is required in order for interstate compacts to be granted.

Horne has stated that the Silver State’s interactive gaming license fees are much too low and the state is losing out on potential revenue by not charging fees similar to those being considered in online gambling proposals of other states. Last year, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee carefully considered the fees to be charged for licenses and found $500,000 to be acceptable.

Also included in the measure proposed by Horne is a bad actor clause that would prohibit online gaming companies who serviced the U.S. market after Dec. 31, 2006 from being granted a license in Nevada for a period of ten years. That would keep sites like PokerStars out of Nevada for a decade as punishment for virtually ignoring the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcment Act (UIGEA).

That differs from the online gambling bill that was conditionally vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey that will likely be approved by Garden State legislators who plan to vote on the governor’s conditions on Feb. 26. The New Jersey statute originally contained a bad actor clause. However, the provision was removed, allowing PokerStars to place a bid on a struggling casino in Atlantic City in hopes of breaking into the U.S. online poker market.

The measure proposed by Horne needs a two-thirds majority for passage. But without Sandoval’s support, the bill’s prospects are dim.

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