A bill that would develop a licensing system for online poker business in the state of Nevada has passed Nevada's State Assembly - if the federal government takes steps to legalize online gaming. A modified version of previous legislation, the bill would move Nevada into a position of being able to license online gambling operators - again contingent upon the federal government ruling to allow regulated online poker or other forms of gambling. According to the bill regulators are instructed to draft rules for licensing in the event that federal legislation is passed.
When the bill originated it was designed to allow online poker in the state of Nevada; just before the events of Black Friday took place that portion of the bill was removed. April 15th is known as Black Friday to online poker players in the United States due to the DoJ opening indictments on that day against PokerStars, Full tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker which shut the online poker sites down to US players.
The bill is calling for rules to be developed by January 2012 and goes on to state that any online gambling site that is receiving a license would be required to have a partnership with a company holding a non-restricted gambling license; which in most cases would be a land based casino in the United States. The Nevada Gaming Commission would be in charge of licensing.
The law would put Nevada in position to act as a licensing system in the case of federal regulations and wouldn't regulate or legalize anything on its own. The bill now moves on to the Nevada State Senate and since the provisions of the bill aren't construed as controversial, it is expected to pass.
Originally the bill was backed by PokerStars, in the amount of $272,000 according to reports. The funds went to political campaigns in Nevada. Unaware of PokerStars' foreign status when accepting the contributions, most or all the contributions have been returned since the donations appear to been in violation of federal laws.