By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
Thursday morning the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee listened to nearly three hours of testimony regarding Assembly Bill 258, which would enable the licensing and operation of internet poker in Nevada.
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso was among the many people who spoke on behalf of the bill, saying that it’s a “very feasible and practical solution.”
Essentially, the debate over bringing legalized online poker to the state of Nevada is boiling down to a standoff between established brick-and-mortar casinos and online poker services. PokerStars has brought in former Assembly speaker Richard Perkins to lobby for the bill.
Democrat William Horne, an Assemblyman from Las Vegas introduced the bill originally, noted that established casinos are afraid of losing business to their online competitors, stating that “The issue is one of competition.”
Inevitably, the issue of keeping minors off the online tables was brought up by Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, a democrat from Las Vegas. Her concerns were addressed by Michael Bolcerek, senior vice president at Aristotle who specializes in online identity verification management, who countered with a list of questions that potential players would be required to answer before playing online.
Despite the claims from proponents of the bill that keeping underage children wouldn’t be an issue, the topic remained a sticking point throughout the hearing. Assurances that proper measures would be in place to prevent underage children from playing online will need to be made if the bill has any chance to progress.
Another major hurdle for the bill is the fact that nearly every established land-based casino in Nevada opposes the bill, and is in favor of a federal legalization that would allow them to license and brand their own online presences for online poker and gambling.
It’s quite clear that land-based casinos don’t want online operators such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to take away from their potential profits if/when online gaming becomes a legal reality in the state of Nevada, or the United States if a federal solution is reached.
That is, except for Wynn Resorts.
Stay tuned as the Rakeback.com News Staff will keep you on top of all the latest action in Nevada.
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