Lowering of gambling age in Nevada appears dead
November 14, 2008
A proposal to lower Nevada’s gambling age to 18 appeared dead Thursday, after the top Democrats in the Legislature said they opposed the idea, and an aide said Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons wouldn’t support it.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley panned the idea Wednesday, after Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander told a questioner at a conference last week that he would take the suggestion to the state Legislature.
Neilander said he was neither for nor against lowering the gambling age from 21 to 18. He later said lowering the gambling age would be difficult to enforce.
Gibbons spokesman Ben Kieckhefer called the suggestion unexpected, and said the governor could not support it.
With Democrats controlling both houses of the state Legislature, Horsford and Buckley control the legislative agenda.
Horsford told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he would oppose changing the gambling age and added that he didn’t see much support for the move.
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“I don’t think there is a lot of appetite to consider it at this point,” he said.
Buckley said she didn’t have a “strong interest” in the issue.
“Of course, there is the argument that if you can vote or go to war at 18, you should be allowed to gamble,” she said.
Authorities say 15 states and some Indian casinos have a minimum age of 18 to gamble, and most states with lotteries let 18-year-olds buy tickets.
Horsford said he understood the reason behind the suggestion, with legislators and Gibbons looking for ways to raise money or cut spending due to declining tax revenues.
On Wednesday, the state Gaming Control Board reported that casino revenues declined 5.4 percent in September. The state has logged a 10.9 percent decline in casino tax revenues so far this fiscal year, compared with the same period in 2007.