Nevada Ponders Internet Wagering
By staff
Online gambling will be discussed on Thursday at a Nevada Gaming Commission meeting, and state gaming regulators want Nevada residents’ input into the decision of whether to allow in-state Internet gambling. If approved, Nevada would become the first state to allow Internet gambling, and intrastate Web betting could also apply to remote wagering from hotel rooms, according to Dennis Neilander, Nevada Gaming board chairman.

'This is a meeting where I'd like to get some help with broader policy questions,' Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said. 'We have to look at policy issues, decide if having people playing from their homes is what we want.'

The response from Nevada’s big guns is mixed: Station Casinos Inc. is already preparing its remote wagering system and is behind legalization, chief financial officer Glenn Christenson says, as he thinks it would complement the company’s land-based casinos: 'If it is going to be available, we'd want to be involved. It's like videotaped movies available at Blockbuster. They don't kill first-run movies. And I think intrastate play from within Nevada would expand the (brick-and-mortar) market.'

But Wynn Resorts, owned by casino developer Steve Wynn, is taking a disinterested attitude: “Intrastate (gambling) seems like glorified phone wagering,' says Wynn lawyer Marc Rubinstein. 'We've taken a long hard look at the issue, and we're just not sure yet.'

The intrastate gambling angle doesn’t go as far as some in the Internet Casino industry would like: 'A number of Internet gaming advocates were hoping for a broader approach (allowing bets nationally and internationally) than an intrastate solution. But this is viewed as a good first step,' says Internet gambling expert, Tony Cabot.

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