When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie failed to keep a strong poker face, saying he might sign an amended version of a New Jersey's online-wagering bill this week, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Legislature responded by raising the stakes.
In less time than it takes to play a regular poker game, Sandoval and Legislature showed just how quickly a nonpartisan group can work together and get something done Thursday. Assembly Bill 114 was pushed through the Assembly and Senate as an emergency measure just to be signed by Sandoval hours later.
When all is said and done, online poker players might not be the only winners. Regulating online poker is another much-needed revenue source for the Silver State.
Nevada is now allowed to enter into compacts with other states to offer Internet poker. Gambling regulators will pioneer this by creating regulations dictating compact parameters.
Lawmakers in 2011 passed a bill that put Nevada in position to legalize Internet gambling if the feds sanctioned it. But when those efforts failed in Congress, Sandoval urged that Nevada needed to set the industry standard in gaming.
"This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada," Sandoval said Thursday. "Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada."
Forming partnerships with other states gives the Silver State an expanded poker-playing base and allows other states to learn from Nevada's expertise in gambling regulation.
The state, in return, will charge companies that want to offer online poker $500,000. Nearly 20 companies have received a license from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to operate poker.
Along with creating 40-60 jobs, online gaming is expected to provide nearly $3 million in tax revenues and have an economic output between $10 million and $15 million.
In a legislative session in which tax reform appears to be the main topic of conversation, keeping Nevada as the gold standard in gaming isn't just logical; it's fiscally wise.