Noting that Nevada is now in a race against time to finalize its online gaming bill, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval told his state’s legislative body this week that they must pass the measure known as Assembly Bill 114 within the next thirty days in order to stay a step ahead of New Jersey, which is also considering a revised statute to legalize online gambling.
What the Bill Does
The purpose of the new Assembly Bill 114 will be to create a process through which interested companies can seek to gain gaming licenses for online gambling sites in Nevada. A joint hearing of the State’s Senate and Assembly Judiciary committees met to review the bill’s contents this week.
Although rushing to get the measure through the legislature, Sandoval has not been without his critics on some wording. The bill’s sponsor, Assembly Majority Leader William Horne (D-Las Vegas), had argued with the governor over the correct amount to set for the interactive gaming license application fee. Sandoval initially wanted to set fees at $500,000, in contrast to Horne’s proposal that they be set at $1 million. A compromise was reached by setting the fee at $500,000, but allowing the Nevada Gaming Commission the leeway to increase or decrease fees under certain circumstances. Also included in the compromise was wording so that application fees could never go above $1 million, or fall below $150,000.
Additionally, renewal fees will be set at $250,000, rather than Horne’s initially proposed $500,000.
With No Federal Mandate, Nevada Must Act Alone
Assembly Majority Leader Horne said in his testimony that as Congress has failed to take positive steps towards passage of a national gambling bill, Nevada must take the initiative and look out for its own interests. Horne added that the new measure would provide much-needed tax revenues that could go towards the state’s education system and help the still-beleaguered economy come back to life.
More Visitors Will Come
Because Nevada online gaming players will need to be Nevada residents, Sandoval pointed out the bill can only boost the state’s residencies while offering potentially thousands, or even millions of new customers to the state’s gaming companies. Several brick-and-mortar Las Vegas casinos have already put down stakes on the new frontier of online gaming, setting up sites and offering free play while they wait for real-money games to become legal.
“It is vital that we move quickly,” said Sandoval in his plea to the state’s legislature to get the bill done within the month to come. “The [financial] potential is extraordinary.”