While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an online gambling bill earlier this month, the Governor of Nevada has signed legislation (Nevada 2013-AB114) [PDF] that enables and authorizes Nevada to make arrangements and enter into agreements with other States that legalize interstate online poker conducted across those state lines. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) still holds that sports betting is illegal under the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 and there has been no move to repeal or amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 or, for example, the corresponding compliance obligations applicable to financial institutions imposed by the FDIC [PDF]. However, at the end of 2011, the DOJ released a memorandum indicating it no longer believes that non-sports related online betting and wagering (e.g., online poker) is prohibited by the Wire Act, essentially paving the way for States to act in the arena of intra-State online gambling – including sports wagering solely within the State.
Technically, the Nevada statute eliminates a provision in the existing law that would require either approval from the U.S. DOJ or some Federal enabling legislation and the effect is that the Gaming Commission in Nevada may now adopt regulations that authorize the State (ostensibly through the Governor’s office), to enter into agreements with other States. Obviously, each other State would require similar enabling legislation and New Jersey is poised to again send another bill to the Governor’s office in the hopes they can craft legislation Governor Christie is willing to sign.
Nevada has traditionally had a strong regulatory environment and the bill includes the following language expressing the intent and basis for the new legislation. The bill notes that “The state of Nevada leads the nation in gaming regulation and enforcement…” and “ … is uniquely positioned to develop an effective and comprehensive regulatory structure related to interactive gaming.” .
If you need more information about the complex legal and regulatory issues that relate to online or interactive gaming or gambling and the payment and e-Commerce implications and requirements, not only in the United States, but internationally, feel free to contact me, Joseph I. Rosenbaum or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.