Nevada regulator says other states don’t allow cyber gambling
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada casino operators who thought they would be able to accept Internet bets from out-of-state residents if the companies are allowed to set up Web casinos, heard otherwise from a top gambling regulator.
Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said the agency’s almost-finished look at other states’ laws on Internet gambling hasn’t found a single state law authorizing residents to bet online.
”I’ve tried to break down the 49 states into three groups,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for Tuesday’s editions. ”States where Internet gambling would be legal, states where it’s not legal, and states where it’s fuzzy.
”In every case, it’s always fuzzy or not legal.”
Most states have old prohibitions against all gambling. States that allow casinos, lotteries, horse racing and dog racing having specific laws granting those industries exceptions, he noted.
Internet gambling experts predict that Nevada-regulated Web gambling sites would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for operators and raise tens of millions in gambling taxes for the state.
State lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year allowing the Nevada Gaming Commission to craft rules allowing state casino operators to operate Internet casinos, if conditions are met.
The commission must decide that Nevada-based Web casinos comply with all applicable federal and state laws.
The most significant legal barrier slowing the panel’s action is a 40-year-old federal law designed to combat sports betting over interstate phone lines.
The federal Justice Department’s position is that the law prevents Internet casino gambling as well as sports betting.
The commission must also determine that minors can be kept from betting and that people in countries or states where cybergambling is illegal can’t wager.
Richard Fitzpatrick, president of the Interactive Gaming Institute of Nevada, said potential Nevada operators initially plan to focus on the international market rather than the other 49 states.
”I don’t think anyone realistically thought they’d be able to take business from the U.S. right away,” Fitzpatrick said, noting that bets from within Nevada would be the only exception.
Neilander said the control board is beginning to analyze gambling laws in foreign countries, noting that Nevada-regulated Web casinos won’t be able to take bets from international jurisdictions that prohibit the practice.
”A number of those countries have the same issues you confront when looking at the states,” he said. ”They have old prohibitions against gambling, and no exception for Internet gaming.”
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