The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has scheduled a public hearing for today, during which it will take suggestions regarding the proposed amendments to the current online gaming regulations.
The proposal aims to clear the path for regulators to fully legalize online gambling, lifting the poker-only limitations currently in place. The hearing will look at 15 amendments to Gaming Regulation 5A. Full online casino game implementation will require votes from both the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission and the three-member Control Board.
One crucial amendment aims to replace “provisions limiting interactive gaming to the game of poker” with “all games offered on an interactive gaming system.” Another important amendment relates to “authorized player requirements,” with the idea of allowing remote player registration rather than requiring people to register in person at brick-and-mortar gambling joints.
Nevada has been in the online gambling game for nearly a decade. It was the first US state to allow online poker back in April of 2013. It is also the only US state with legalized online poker to not legalize any other online games in the eight years that have passed since then.
The original 2013 legislation was deliberately vague and written in a way to allow all “online gambling.” Under strong opposition from brick-and-mortar casino establishments, the Control Board introduced Regulation 5A. The regulation promptly banned a host of online casino games such as blackjack, roulette, and slot games, while setting up restrictions regarding remote registration.
Recent developments show that perhaps the fears of the land-based casino industry were unfounded, after all. Both Atlantic City and New Jersey online casinos have proven their worth during the COVID-19 crisis, and studies show that casinos in Michigan and Pennsylvania have been doing better after introducing an online component too. The upcoming hearing will be an informative session with all of the relevant stakeholders in the industry, but if and when Regulation 5A will be changed remains to be seen.