Nevada lawmakers slash fees in proposed Internet bill
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Internet gambling is a mouse click away from approval in the Nevada Assembly, where lawmakers made last-minute changes Thursday to bills dealing with the concept.
The final result is AB578, which authorizes Internet gambling and also imposes fees on casinos that want to get into that line of gambling. But the fees now are half what they were in an earlier version of the bill.
Assemblywoman Merle Berman, R-Las Vegas, had proposed AB296, the initial bill authorizing Internet gambling. That plan was rolled into AB578, a step Berman accepted – saying she wouldn’t play ”partisan politics.”
As amended, fees in AB578 were slashed in half to a $500,000 prepaid licensing fee every two years for Nevada casinos offering Internet gambling. In addition, application fees would be $100,000, and licensees would have to pay the 6.25 percent state gambling tax on winnings.
The bill would require slot manufacturers to pay fees as high as $250,000 if they produce Internet gambling software and equipment for casinos.
”A vote against this is a vote against gaming taxes,” Anderson said, urging his colleagues to endorse the amendments to AB578.
The fees were cut after the original version of the measure fell one vote short of the 22 ”ayes” needed to win approval Wednesday in the Assembly. While Berman’s AB296 easily passed, both measures were stalled by a parliamentary maneuver while the fees were revised.
Berman issued a news release said she didn’t oppose the action in the Democrat-controlled Assembly and instead ”graciously chose to lay politics aside and put the best interests of all Nevadans first…”
Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, said if all went smoothly, Internet gambling could be up and running in two years.
Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko, opposed the original fee proposal, saying that it allowed only large properties to get into such gambling.
But he changed his stance after the fees were cut, saying that would ensure that interactive gambling wouldn’t be limited just to major resorts in Nevada’s urban centers.
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