Senator Heller expects new online gaming legislation

24 February 2014

Nevada Senator Dean Heller is hopeful that new legislation will be introduced to outlaw all online gambling in the US, apart from online poker, within the next couple of months.

According to the PressofAtlanticCity.com website, Heller said that the new law would put an end to what he described as the “wild wild west” of gambling. Nevada is one of just three states to have legalised online gaming in the US alongside Delaware and New Jersey.

Previous efforts to introduce online gambling legislation at the federal level were criticised for apparently favouring the Senators’ home state of Nevada.

In addition, Heller also backed the efforts of Sheldon Adelson, chairman of casino and resort company Las Vegas Sands Corporation, who is funding the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling campaign group in the US.

Heller highlighted a number of the group's points such as how widespread online gambling could cause social problems and that the competition of internet gaming could hit Nevada’s land-based gambling and tourist industries.

“I think Adelson brings up some reasonable concerns,” Heller said. “And to have the wild wild west as an empire of gambling for the country would have some serious social implications. And I think that’s what he’s concerned with.

“I think the devastation for bricks and mortar (casinos) in this state … would just be a final nail, I think, in keeping these businesses healthy."

Heller, alongside fellow Nevada Senator, Harry Reid, have been working together to develop a bill to restore the Wire Act, which previously prohibited online gambling in the US before it was loosened several years ago to allow Illinois to offer lottery tickets online.

Part of the development process of the bill has been to include an exception for online poker, a feature Heller said would make sense as poker is a game of skill, rather than chance.

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