Lawmakers Learn About Internet Gambling From Experts

As the prospect of federal legalization legalizing internet gambling dims several states are planning to launch their own internet gambling sites. Panelists from a meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States which took place earlier this month had some advice for lawmakers; Get as much regulatory experience as you can and be prepared for many disagreements. The Council concluded a meeting which was attended by about 100 lawmakers and regulators from 21 states, Washington DC and a Canadian Province. Representatives of tribal gaming operations were also present.

Last year the Council adopted a resolution about the organization’s opinion about federal legalization of internet gambling. The council cited state’s rights and for the control of public policy within their borders the council said it will oppose any federal legislation that would limit state policymaker’s authority over gambling in their states. In late November 2012 the Council notified Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who were thinking about launching a last ditch effort to pass their proposed bill, of the Council’s resolution. Many lobbyists for the gaming industry, most notably the American Gaming Association, support federal efforts to legalize internet poker.

The Association would like to have one consistent set of rules and believes that federal control of internet gambling is the answer. Lawmakers in states that may launch online gaming operations are educating themselves about the industry. One panel at the meeting included five Internet gaming experts including two Las Vegas attorneys. Tony Cabot of the Lewis & Roca law firm, who also is an adjunct instructor in gaming law at UNLV, said that Nevada had learned a lot since the state began to issue internet gaming licenses. Cabot told the group of lawmakers “Even the most experienced people are not completely ready to regulate online play. You will need at least a year before a regulatory body can competently regulate it. If New Jersey thinks they can do it in three months, they’re kidding themselves.”

Cabot told attendees that it took Nevada six months to learn which companies and individuals needed to be investigated. Cabot also warned of security concerns and stated “You can be sure that hackers, cheats and scoundrels will try to hack the system. There will be persons trying to defeat the verification systems. They’ll find the weakest of the jurisdictions and compromise those jurisdictions.” Toni Cowan of the Catania & Ehrlich law firm said she doesn’t think most government agencies realize how rapidly technology is changing the gaming industry and said she has more confidence in states regulation internet gambling than in the federal government.

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