Online poker has been a legally regulated activity in the state of Nevada for two years now. Just recently, an interstate compact to share liquidity between players in Nevada and Delaware was implemented. Now, via AB 414, the state is taking steps to ensure that online poker is the only form of internet gaming shared between players across state lines.
On Friday, members of the Nevada Assembly met to discuss AB 414, a legislative measure scripted to prohibit shared liquidity compacts with other states for the purpose of any online gambling activity outside of poker.
AB 414, backed by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was only introduced a month ago on March 19, and has moved rapidly through state legislature. It was passed by a slim margin of 23 to 17, with 2 excused from the vote.
The fate of the interstate compact measure is now in the hands of the Senate. It received its first reading in the Senate Committee on April 20 and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary. The deadline to pass the bill is May 15, 2015.
AB 414 and Online Poker in Nevada
Nevada chose to only legalize interactive peer-to-peer games (i.e. poker) when pressing for internet gaming regulation. Delaware and New Jersey took a different route, having authorized both online poker and house-banked casino games like blackjack, roulette, video poker and slots.
In early 2013, Nevada and Delaware came together in agreement on a shared liquidity deal that would see their online poker players merged into a single, networked player pool across all 888-powered operators, which include all three of Delaware’s authorized gaming sites (DelawarePark.com, DoverDowns.com and HarringtonRaceway.com) and Nevada’s WSOP.com. New Jersey has chosen to go it alone, at least for the time being, declining to share liquidity with any other states.
Of worthy note, the interstate compact signed by the governors of Nevada and Delaware took more than a year to go into effect. During all that time, no bill to prevent shared liquidity across internet house-banked games was introduced. It wasn’t until mere days before player pooling became a reality on March 24 that the measure surfaced.
Adelson’s Crusade to Stop Online Gambling
As for why Sheldon Adelson is has been so adamant about in his support of AB 414 and the need to hold interstate compacts to online poker only remains a bit of a mystery. As one reporter for CardPlayer put it, he may be “hedging his bets”.
Though not for lack of effort, the billionaire CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) has thus far been unable to reach his ultimate goal of prohibiting all forms of online gambling in the US. He’s signed countless checks of untold value, all thrown at politicians and organizations willing to support his cause. Currently, his primary focus is lobbying for the passage of a federal bill known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. If passed, RAWA would effectively criminalize any and all forms of internet gambling, shutting down iGaming markets in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, as well as the online lottery sales in four other states.
It’s also worth mentioning that Nevada permits mobile betting within authorized casinos; something Mr. Adelson has taken full advantage of, despite his outward aversion to online gambling. For example, a guest of the LVS-owned Venetian Hotel can log into the casino’s mobile betting site and place wagers on sporting events, so long as the individual is physically located within the confines of the property at the time the bet is placed.
AB 414 will not affect property-restricted mobile betting, and Adelson doesn’t seem to mind profiting from that internet gambling niche one bit.