Web Casino Ads Scrutinized
By Paul
Nevada gaming regulators are looking into the possibility of legal action against offshore Internet casinos that run ads aimed at Nevada residents.

Nevada Gaming Control Board member Scott Scherer said Tuesday he may ask the state attorney general’s office to prosecute offshore Internet casinos that place ads targeting Nevadans.

Speaking at the iGamingWorld conference at Bellagio, Scherer told a group of Internet gaming executives that he was concerned at the intent of radio ads he heard while driving in Northern Nevada.

Scherer thinks the ads are aimed at picking up custom from Nevada residents, although he couldn’t name the casino site that placed the ads.

Scherer drew a distinction between the radio ad he heard and ads designed to appeal to international or US tourists on vacation in Nevada.

'The content of the ad would be key,' Scherer explained, noting that ads targeting Nevadans are clearly asking them to do something that's illegal.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said Tuesday that regulators and law enforcement officials have a range of options to deal with illegal offshore wagering from Nevada.

Neilander said he's had informal discussions about the problem with other regulators but has yet to decide how to deal with offshore casino advertising.

'Legally, it's tough to get jurisdiction over these operators,' Neilander said, adding that a clear-cut case of an offshore casino blatantly inviting Nevadans to bet on its site would be easier to prosecute than a case with a better commercial free-speech defense.

'That probably takes a different posture,' Neilander said. 'They're selling an activity that is not legal in Nevada.'

According to Chief Deputy Attorney General Keith Kizer, the AG’s office has no pending cases involving offshore casino ads, and Kizer added that free speech rights are an obstacle to prosecuting a criminal or a civil case against an offshore operator.

Kizer said they'd look at any objectionable ads if asked to do so. He declined to say what action the AG’s office would take.

'We'd look at the facts and law and make a recommendation,' he said.

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