Despite not having met since 1984, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee (GPC) convened last week to discuss legal online poker.
The 11-member GPC is headed by State Governor Brian Sandoval and acts as an advisory board which makes non-binding recommendations to the Nevada Gaming Commission or the State Gaming Control Board.
Currently, online gambling is illegal in the U.S., but back in December, 2011, the Justice Department revealed it no longer believed the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 was applicable to online poker, thus spurring Nevada forward with efforts to to allow it. Consequently, the GPC are now in the process of preparing draft bills to that end, with member Paul Mathews Jr. explaining:
“It’s time for Nevada to be able to leverage its regulatory apparatus to our benefit. We need to take what we do around the block and around the world. In order to do that, we need some legislation.”
In preparation for the expected day when online poker returns to the US, Nevada has already started inviting applications for Interactive gaming licenses, with public hearings expected around June.
In the meantime, Nevada is also hoping that the Government may take steps to legalize online poker on a federal level, while Nevada could then receive a federal regulatory “franchise” over the taxable enterprise estimated worth $3 billion in revenue per year for the state. This could in turn help lift Nevada out of its current financial woes.
Discussing the prospects for online poker in the US, analyst Bill Lerner from
Union Gaming Group wrote in a 2011 report:
“We estimate the U.S. online poker market at $5 billion in revenue, relative to the current $24 billion global Internet gaming market and (the) $33 billion commercial casino market in the U.S. In our opinion, the commercialization of online poker is a 2013 event.”