Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is one of the rising stars on the American political landscape, and he recently threw his “full support” to a federal Internet gambling bill. The bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) calls for an across-the-board regulation by the United States government of Internet gambling practices. Sandoval’s own state of Nevada has already legalized online poker, and Delaware is the only other state to legalize online gambling since the United States Department of Justice asked that responsibility be passed onto the state level. Nevada is inching closer to actually delivering the first occurrence of online poker since the US DOJ flip-flopped their age old position on Internet gaming in December of 2011.
Sandoval has substantially improved the size of his “blip” on the political radar in the United States, and throwing his weight behind the legislation that would legalize and regulate online poker across the United States will no doubt mean that other senators will immediately back his move. He recently sent a letter to congressional leaders which was dated Thursday, October 25, to alert Congress of his approval of the Reid – Kyl bill. Politicians generally distribute letters of their opinions to their colleagues more to generate supporters than to inform, as the virtual information network in Washington typically knows who is in favor of what without any printed verification.
This letter stated his full support to Reid and Kyl in their efforts to craft federal legislation on Internet gaming, pointing out that one single set of rules governing the United States would be much simpler to regulate than the current situation where each individual state can create their own Internet gaming rules. The exact wording he used in his letter to Congress says, “I offer my full support to the efforts by Senators Harry Reid and John Kyl …” while also mentioning that he has much experience in overseeing gambling as he was a former Nevada Gaming Commission chairman. He also pointed out that state rights and individual customization of federal policy could still be protected under this particular bill.
He claimed that while protecting the state rights is very important, “a sensible federal framework” is needed. It also says that this particular bill would compliment state efforts and allow a state to regulate and maintain gaming within its borders, and protect minors and shield online gamers from illegal and possibly shady offshore operators. Sandoval said that in his opinion there are no safeguards in place in the current state-by-state online gaming scenario, and that the Reid – Kyl bill which would ban all forms of online gaming except for Internet poker would give each individual state the chance to opt into or out of a federal regulatory body.
California, Ohio, Illinois and several other states have been pushing forward with legislation on some form of online gambling after the DOJ Wire Act opinion was reversed. The previous opinion held that all forms of online gaming should be illegal, and the reversal in late 2011 only prohibits online gambling on sports. But several state governors and other politicians have openly expressed their concern that federal regulation would eventually trickle down to lotteries, watering down the enormous sums of money that popular off and online gaming vehicles provide at the state level. There almost certainly will be no movement on the bill until after the presidential election.