Michael Gaughan, the owner of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, has given his support to the legislation could potentially create a regulated and licensed online poker market in the United States.
The bill, known as Assembly Bill 258, has been proposed by William Horne (D-34th District) and has been summarized in previous articles on this media source. It was proposed on March 10thand will be heard on 24th March by the Committee on Judiciary.
The bill seeks to “enact provisions governing the licensing and operation of internet poker” within a framework that would be based on operations inside the state of Nevada and permit its residents from other areas to partake in online play. With the approval of this legislation, Nevada could provide the benchmark in the regulation of online poker. “There is no doubt in my mind that online poker and other games are coming. … AB 258 would make us a pioneer in the nationwide movement and the leader for the rest of the country to emulate.” Said Gaughan.
The Las Vegas gambling industry is Nevada is experiencing its worst-ever downturn, with a $2.5 billion loss hitting the Strip’s pockets in 2010 and an unemployment rate that is now up to 13.5 percent.
As previously reported, the AB 258 bill is being solidly pushed by PokerStars and offers alternatives to operators and players on American soil towards circumventing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Caesars Entertainment, the owners of the World Series of Poker and huge Las Vegas casinos, and MGM Resorts International, the group that operates the Bellagio, CityCenter, and Mirage, are strong opponents of the proposed bill. Jan Jones, the Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Relations, has been quoted as saying: “Our focus is not intrastate, our focus is interstate, … It’s Federal, it’s putting together an American law, an appropriate regulation and licensing regime and taking the jobs and revenues going to foreign companies and bringing it back to America. The internet, by its nature, is an interstate activity, and the rules should be crafted appropriately.”
The Wall Street Journal has reported an MGM spokesperson as saying: “You have one company [PokerStars] trying to impose a business model on legislation. We have to eliminate illegal online gambling and crack down on foreign operators that don’t comply with Federal law.”
The Committee on Judiciary’s decision on 23rd March may prove to be a turning-point the future of online gaming in Nevada and on larger scales.