Nevada Sports Betting Regulations Amended by State Gaming Commission

Posted on: January 25, 2019, 08:44h. 

Last updated on: January 25, 2019, 08:44h.

Nevada’s sports betting regulations have been amended by the state Gaming Commission after receiving recommendations from the Gaming Control Board.

Nevada sports betting regulations
Nevada sports betting rules have been changed, but gamblers won’t notice much of a difference at the betting window. (Image: Washington Post)

On Thursday, the state’s chief regulatory authority amended certain sports betting definitions in an attempt to better clarify the terms. They included what constitutes a “professional sport or athletic event,” “virtual event,” and “other events.”

The definitions were altered to grant power to the chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to dictate what type of bets can be made. The definition modifications come largely as a result of the emergence of esports and the state’s decision to allow betting on the video game competitions.

The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) voted unanimously in favor of the updated interpretations. However, the Commission rejected a suggestion to allow online enrollment for new sports wagering accounts. The law requiring patrons to first visit a land-based sportsbook to register and deposit money remains.

Changes Coming

Thursday was NGCB Chairwoman Becky Harris’ final meeting overseeing the agency. She was appointed to a one-year term by former Governor Brian Sandoval (R) after AG Burnett resigned in January 2018 to take a position in the private sector.

New Governor Steve Sisolak (D) appointed Sandra Douglas Morgan to become the next chair of the NGCB. She will officially step into the role on Monday.

Harris was the first female to govern the board. NGC Chairman Tony Alamo expressed his gratitude for her service, and said many in the general public don’t understand the sacrifice. A physician by day, Alamo stated that he’s losing out on money when he isn’t seeing patients and instead tending to state gaming matters.

Gaming Commission members serve in part-time capacities, and are paid around $46,000 annually. Control Board members are full-time roles, and Harris’ 2018 compensation was nearly $159,000.

Along with Harris, NGCB member Shawn Reid is retiring after completing his second four-year term. Prior to becoming a board member, Reid served 20 years as a NGCB agent in the Investigations Division. Sisolak hasn’t yet named his replacer.

Interstate Gaming

The Nevada Gaming Commission also approved allowing casinos to take wagers from people in other states should a change come to the federal law. That seems rather unlikely, as the Department of Justice recently issued a new interpretation on the 1961 Wire Act that says the federal law prohibits the facilitation of all forms of interstate gambling.

Before DOJ Office of Legal Counsel Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel issued the restored opinion, the Justice Department’s stance since 2011 was that the law applied only to sports betting. That essentially allowed states to determine whether they wanted to permit online gambling, and Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey legalized certain games.

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, has worked vigorously to eradicate internet casinos. He’s also been one of the largest Republican Party donors in recent election cycles.

The DOJ’s Wire Act reversal was seen as a nod from President Donald Trump’s administration to the Las Vegas tycoon.