Key measures affect Nevada’s gambling industry
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Rushing to meet a deadline for committee action on bills, Nevada lawmakers acted Monday on several measures dealing with the casino industry – the state’s economic lifeblood.
Gambling-related measures endorsed on the deadline included Assemblywoman Merle Berman’s AB296, which would allow Internet gambling in Nevada.
The bill was amended to ensure that smaller casino operators wouldn’t be excluded from the opportunity to launch Internet casinos
”We’ve ironed out the concerns for smaller places. We don’t want to leave anyone out,” said Berman, R-Las Vegas.
Berman said Nevada, with its long history of legalized gambling, should be the first to develop regulations on Internet gambling. She said the measure would create a big source of new tax revenue, as well as attract high-tech companies to the state.
If approved by the Legislature, Internet gambling could generate an additional $56 million in tax revenue in the coming fiscal year alone, she said.
Some lawmakers warned about possible legal pitfalls.
”I don’t want to do something that jeopardizes the state’s gaming image,” said Judiciary Chairman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, who voted in favor of the amended bill. ”It’s important keeping the integrity of the board and commission in place, and make sure Nevada gaming and gamers aren’t endangered by this.”
Casino lobbyist Harvey Whittemore said he was pleased with the committee action on the Internet bill and other gambling bills.
”It continues the tradition of Nevada being on the cutting edge of the gambling industry,” he said. ”It’ll present more business opportunities for our clients.”
Other gambling-related measures that were taken up Monday included a timeshare gambling bill – that was gutted in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB419, sponsored by Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, would have changed current state law that restricts new casino gambling licenses in the Las Vegas Strip corridor to resort-hotels.
To be eligible for a casino license, a property has to meet the state’s ”resort hotel” definition. That means a minimum of 200 hotel rooms, one 30-person bar and a 60-person, 24-hour-per-day restaurant.
Schneider’s bill would have allowed time share projects to share the resort designation.
The committee voted to make timeshare gambling one of the subjects that’ll be part of a study on gambling done between the 2001 and 2003 legislative sessions.
Assembly Judiciary amended and passed AB466, a statewide gambling work card system sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno. Leslie said the bill would establish a system that treats everyone fairly.
While the measure provides for a state card, an application would be filed in the city or county where the applicant lives.
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