When Nevada approved online poker last year, it seemed a certainty that the games would extend beyond state borders before too long. After all, Nevada’s population was unlikely to support more than a couple of online poker sites on its own, and the state has historically been a leader in the gambling industry. Before the first sites even went live, Nevada had approved compacts with other states that approved online poker – a move that looked forward to future legislation that could bring Internet poker to larger states (including those, like New Jersey, that have already passed such laws).
This week, Nevada looked beyond the borders of the United States in an effort to find markets that are already open to compacts. Assembly Bill 360 passed unanimously through the state legislature, allowing Nevada to enter into online poker compacts with foreign and tribal governments that already regulate the game. This move will allow Nevada to greatly expand the player base for sites operating in the state, improving both traffic and tournament prizes. The law still needs the signature of Governor Brian Sandoval, but given his support for online poker so far, that isn’t expected to be an issue.
The move comes after a suggestion from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), which represents the Internet gaming interests of the third-largest of the Channel Islands, located about 60 miles from mainland Britain. When Nevada considered interstate compacts, they asked for advice and comment on their legislation. The AGCC took the opportunity to suggest an amendment that would allow Nevada to partner with Alderney and other jurisdictions that already regulate online gambling – something the state clearly took to heart. The new law updates the previous compact legislation to change Nevada’s ability to partner with “states” to “jurisdictions,” potentially allowing Nevada to partner with any gambling operator in the world.
Nevada’s new law doesn’t make it automatic that the state will partner with anyone who asks to do so, though. Foreign operators will still have to abide by Nevada’s laws for Internet gaming. This includes the existing five-year ban on so-called “bad actors,” meaning that any site that continued to operate within the United States after the UIGEA laws were put into place.