|Station Casinos Inc. has already announced plans to build its own Internet casino by the end of the year, but the company announced last Thursday that it is opposed to “intrastate” Internet gambling – i.e., online gambling accessible only within the state of Nevada.|
'Would it make sense to put gaming in every home in the state through intrastate (interactive) gaming?' said Jack Godfrey, attorney for Station, at a meeting of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
During a discussion before the commission on Internet gaming, the possibility of intrastate online betting was frequently raised.
Intrastate online betting from within Nevada could avoid the problems with federal legislation – notably the Wire Act – that make accepting interstate bets over the internet illegal within the US. Intrastate betting could also be a good ‘dry run’ for state legislators to test out Internet betting technology and practice. 'The legal issues there are much easier to get our arms around,' Dennis Neilander, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said.
But Station officials are strongly against intrastate Internet gambling, mainly on the grounds that Nevada-only online casinos could 'cannibalize' business from the state's existing casinos. Godfrey also argued that such a move would go against the trend started several years ago, when state lawmakers passed a law that restricted the number of sites that could be used for the construction of local casinos.
Station, meanwhile, is behind Internet gambling per se-just not within Nevada. It signed an agreement earlier this year to acquire a 50% ownership stake in an Internet casino being operated by Bahamas-based casino operator Sun International, which does not take bets from Americans.
'The original intent was to stay competitive with jurisdictions around the world,' Station President Lorenzo Fertitta said. 'So that (an international online casino) makes sense. What does not make sense is to allow intrastate gaming. The intent (of the Internet gaming bill) was to import business.'