Nevada casinos pushing for legalized online gambling

Recently re-elected Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has been pushing for an intra-state online gaming bill centralized in his home state of Nevada according to the Wall Street Journal. The beneficiaries of the bill would be the brick & mortar casinos located throughout Las Vegas, as they would be the only businesses eligible to receive an online gaming license.

Reid’s support for online gaming is likely due to the huge campaign donations he received in the recent election –which saw Reid narrowly beat Sharon Angle. The major casinos that line the Las Vegas Strip have changed their tune over the past couple of years, and are now in favor of legalizing online gaming – provided they will be the ones offering the games of course.

The argument being pushed is that legalized online poker would provide safeguards against underage gambling and problem gamblers for what is now a highly unregulated market. The bill would also flood state and federal coffers with a new revenue stream worth billions of dollars each year.

The best, and likely only chance, to pass online gaming legislation in the short-term is during the current lame-duck session of Congress. The proponents of the bill are hoping Reid will find another bill that the online gaming bill could be attached to, making passing the measure much simpler.

One company pushing hard for the legislation is Caesars Entertainment Corp (formerly Harrah’s). Caesars owns the World Series of Poker brand, and is hoping to use their name recognition to become a major player in the online poker market, as well as the online gambling market. Caesars has already setup an online poker site –but to comply with US law the site does not offer real-money poker games at this time.

Opponents of the bill include ranking Republican member of the House Financial Services Committee Spencer Bachus (R-AL) who is adamantly opposed to any form of gambling. Bachus and a small group of Congressional members sent a letter to Reid opposing any online gaming legislation being brought up during the lame-duck session: “Congress should not take advantage of the young, the weak and the vulnerable in the name of new revenues to cover more government spending,” Bachus wrote in the letter.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Mr. Reid’s office is considering language that would allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes, which could limit the ability of other companies to enter the market.”

“The bill would also outsource oversight to state regulators, another move supported by existing casinos that don’t want to see the federal government become overly involved in regulating their industry.”
“The bill as drafted would send taxes on wagers to both federal and state government

Did you like this? Share it:

Related posts:

  1. DOJ Issued Legal Opinion on Online Gambling in the US
  2. Reputed Gambling Firms Plan Out Actions Anticipating US Legalization of Online Gambling
  3. Harry Reid’s attempt to legalize online poker fails
  4. A look at Harry Reid’s online poker legislation
  5. Nevada State Gaming Control Board to Accept Internet Poker License Applications from February