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Nevada eyes in-state web betting

Jun 25, 2002 11:22 AM

Despite a mandate from the Nevada legislature to explore Internet wagering on a global scale, gaming regulators have zeroed in on "intrastate" gaming as "a good first step."

Gaming workshops with regulators determined that Nevada would be in conflict with federal law if it approved interstate online gambling. That view is based on the long-standing Department of Justice opinion that interstate gambling over the Internet or other electronic media violates the 1961 Wire Act.

Realizing the "slippery slope" of trying to regulate gaming beyond its own borders, Nevada regulators have focused on in-state, interactive gaming. In a report prepared by the Nevada Attorney General’s office, "intrastate" betting ”” wagering by Nevada residents within the state ”” was cited several times as a requisite for any public policy on interactive wagering.

While not conceding that intrastate gaming would necessarily "cannibalize" existing operators’ profits, Dennis Nielander, chairman of the Gaming Control Board, reminded the Commission that the "precise reason the (interactive gaming) bill was enacted... was so Nevada could remain competitive" in the worldwide, online gaming market.

Nielander said that the legal issues surrounding intrastate gaming were "easier to get your arms around," but he questioned whether it would generate additional revenues for the state.

"If you allow intrastate interactive wagering, are you generating new revenue or just shifting revenues around?" he said.