Nevada can’t regulate what it can’t control
April 11, 2003
As gambling spreads across the map, it’s tempting for Nevada officials to look for new and creative ways to capitalize.
Certainly several of the corporations which own and operate casinos in Nevada are spreading their bets by investing in gaming in other states.
New technology like the Internet is usually seen as the potential promised land, but this week along came a plan we hadn’t seen before — letting British gamblers bet on table games broadcast live from Nevada casinos.
According to an Associated Press article, 77-year-old Herbert Lindos wants the Nevada Legislature to support a bill, SB431, setting up regulations for “live game broadcasts.”
The bill looks like it could run afoul of both federal law and Nevada gaming regulations. And Lindos, who owns a New York company that would actually operate the business, has a 1993 conviction on his record for breaking federal stock-sale laws.
So the legislation probably isn’t going anywhere. But it’s still worth remembering that Nevada’s gaming franchise needs protection, and why strict control is the best way to do it.
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Nevada built its gaming industry by having a monopoly on legalized gambling in the United States. While some of the characters were shady — OK, many were downright crooked — Nevada’s regulators maintained the credibility of the games themselves.
Tourists from Iowa had to know not only could they come to Nevada and gamble legally, but they weren’t going to get ripped off in the process. It’s a tossup which mattered more.
Nevada’s monopoly has been stripped away, and it faces new challenges every day from other states, from the Internet and from Indian casinos.
What hasn’t changed, however, is Nevada’s reputation for the best and most thorough gaming regulation in the country. Anything that erodes the regulations also erodes the reputation.
Tempting as it may be, Nevada can’t put its stamp on anything it can’t control. Internet gaming and TV broadcasts to Britain would seem to define that category.