We previously detailed the passage of an amendment to Nevada’s online poker law that allowed Nevada’s governor to reach agreements to create joint player pools with residents of other states. Despite having the authority to enter into such interstate online poker compacts for almost one year, no agreement had yet been reached with another state . . . until now. This week, Delaware and Nevada governors signed the first interstate online poker compact that allows residents of the two states to play online poker against one another. The partnership between Nevada and Delaware marks a turning point in online gaming law, and is of the utmost importance to all gaming attorneys and those interested in Internet poker law in general. While federal legislation could pre-empt this move eventually, previous incarnations of federal online poker bills have been languishing in the U.S. Congress. However, with a slew of new online poker bills currently pending within the U.S. House of Representatives and several more on the horizon, that too may also change soon.
New Federal Online Poker Bill on the Horizon
According to Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), a federal online poker bill will soon be introduced in the U.S. Senate, which would legalize online poker, as a game of skill, throughout the country. The bill has bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Nevada’s democratic senator and longtime online poker proponent, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Sen. Reid has proposed several online poker bills in the past, to no avail, and is hoping to have better results with this bill.
Competing Online Poker Bills Introduced in California
Also last week, two online poker bills were introduced in the California State legislature seeking to legalize online poker within the State. Both bills are backed by tribal-operated casinos and are limited to poker. The bills are in essence duplicative of previously introduced and discarded California online poker bills and are, therefore, not likely to survive the State legislative vetting process, especially given the fact that the language of the bills grant tribal casinos almost total control over the online poker industry within the State.