Nevada online compacts poker only

Brian Sandoval says that Nevada’s first online poker compact should go into effect in a matter of weeks. (Image: AP)

Nevada is on board with sharing their online poker player pools with other states, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

But while the state is looking forward to implementing player liquidity sharing with states like Delaware when it comes to Internet poker, a new bill wants to make sure that this is the extent of any such agreements they enter into.

Assembly Bill 414 (AB 414), introduced into the Nevada legislature last Thursday, is an attempt to clarify the same rules that allowed Governor Brian Sandoval to agree to an online poker player sharing compact with Delaware Governor Jack Markell last year.

Most importantly, it ensures that these agreements can only be applied to online poker, and not to other Internet games.

Bill Restricts Compacts to Poker

“Existing law authorizes the Governor, upon recommendation of the Nevada Gaming Commission, to enter into agreements with certain governments to enable patrons in the signatory states to participate in interactive gaming,” reads the Legislative Counsel’s Digest summary of the bill. “This bill…provides that such agreements may only be entered into to enable patrons in the signatory states to participate in Internet poker; and…defines Internet poker for such purposes.”

This may seem almost self-evident to those who know about Nevada’s online gambling marketplace, as the state only allows for Internet poker, not online casino games. However, it’s always possible for that to change in the future, and this bill would be a way to clarify that sharing agreements only apply to poker.

It would also prevent anyone from claiming that games offered in other states could then be offered to Nevada players if the two states agreed to a compact. Nevada does also offer some mobile sports betting, but only at land-based casinos, meaning it has little to do with what we think of as online gambling.

Interestingly, Nevada reporter Jon Ralston posted on Twitter that this bill is backed by Sheldon Adelson, despite the fact that the bill doesn’t actually set any significant limits on Nevada’s current online gambling operations.

Adelson has been fairly stringent in his opposition to Internet gambling: he has previously argued against carve-outs for poker, and the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, which he supports and is said to have had a hand in crafting, would ban online poker along with casino games at the federal level.

Nevada, Delaware Are Only States to Sign Compacts Thus Far

The only online poker compact that has been signed thus far is the one between Nevada and Delaware, which the two governors agreed to last February. Originally, it was hoped that the player pool sharing might begin as early as last summer, but as of today, there is still no firm date as to when the shared games will begin.

There is hope, however, as Governor Sandoval said in late February that the combined player pools would be ready to go in about four to six weeks, a timeline that would get the shared liquidity up and running by early April. At the time, Sandoval reportedly blamed the delays on “technical glitches” and other issues.

Sharing player pools would be a huge benefit to a small state like Delaware, but it could also be important for Nevada. While state regulators have stopped releasing revenue numbers now that there are only two active poker sites in the state, PokerScout estimates that revenues have declined in the last few months: by perhaps ten percent since November, the last month for which official figures were released.