The Nevada Legislature met on Thursday morning, (February 21st), to discuss an online poker bill that would give Governor Brian Sandoval the authority to expand Nevada's customer base to enter into interstate compacts. Almost in a whirlwind fashion, Sandoval signed the bill into law less than 12 hours later.
With Nevada intent on beating Delaware and New Jersey to the finish line, the Assembly Judiciary Committee amended and passed the bill with a unanimous vote that would allow Nevada to move ahead with Internet poker. The bill then hit the State Senate and Assembly almost without slowing down and then made its way to Sandoval's desk to be signed into law on Thursday evening.
"This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada," Sandoval said as he sat in front of the bill with pen in hand. "Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada. This bill is critical to our state's economy and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard for gaming regulation."
Nevada has become the first state to sign an interstate online poker bill into law.
Nevada ranks 35th in the U.S. in population and liquidity has been a cause for concern in the Silver State since licensed operators were preparing for launch in Nevada's intrastate market. Obviously interstate agreements with other regulated states in the United States would provide more tax revenue and boost local businesses since casinos are one of Nevada's leading sources of revenue.
Assembly Majority Leader William Horne had introduced a licensing fee hike in the amended bill last week. The hike would have seen the online gambling license fees double from $500,000 to $1,000,000 with renewal fees jumping from $250,000 to $500,000. An apparent compromise was made with Sandoval this week when Horne backed down from the fee increases.
Sandoval made it very apparent to Nevada lawmakers that the state's online gambling should be passed within 30 days after Gov. Chris Christie showed his support for online gambling in New Jersey. Sandoval stressed the fact that Nevada needed to move quickly on the bill since other states were making progress with the same design in mind.