The Nevada online poker bill, AB258, was introduced on Friday March 11 in the state Assembly by William Horne. The objective was to enable Nevada residents to play at online poker sites subject to the restrictions set out in the draft bill. After deliberations some amendments were made in the original bill. The amended online poker bill was unanimously approved by the Nevada state assembly on Thursday May 19.
The major condition that was introduced in AB258 was that the bill even if enacted cannot be implemented until federal legislation legalizing online poker sites is passed. This was on account of the Department of Justice action against the online poker sites PokerStars.com, FullTilt.com and AbsolutePoker.com.
The Nevada online poker bill provides for residents of the state to play at online poker sites that are regulated in the United States. Taxes would be collected at the state level. According to the bill the Nevada Gaming Commission will now have to develop regulations for online poker sites. The time frame given for the regulations to be effective is by January 2012. AB258 also stipulates that online poker sites seeking licenses would need to have a partnership with an existing non-restricted gambling license holder or an affiliate that has been in business for at least five years. The bill will now proceed to the Nevada state Senate, where it is also expected to pass.
Speaking about the likelihood of federal legislation David G. Schwartz of the Las Vegas Business Press said, “Certainly no one in Congress would oppose allowing states greater freedom to explore economic development on their own terms. Find me a politician who wouldn’t like to simultaneously pass the buck and create some jobs.”
California is another American state that has been for long struggling to pass its online poker bill. The focus of California Senator Lou Correa is to legalize on line poker sites in the state before federal legislation is passed. Therefore he has amended his bill hoping to take care of the detractors. He said, “With federal action looming and the market wide open, we have to quickly authorise online poker in California. To delay will mean the loss of more than $1.4 billion in new state revenue at a time when it is severely needed”.