What's Going On In Nevada??

5 August 1997

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The media seems absolutely certain that a bill passed in Nevada and signed into law on July 31 is a prohibition on internet gambling. But, legal experts and others involved in the gaming industry there say it's really not the case.

News services say that this bill is the first in the nation to "expressly prohibit residents from using the Web for gambling purposes." The new law was written to prevent people who are not licensed by the state to use any medium of communication to place or accept a bet. It defines medium of communication as including email, telephone, television, telegraph, facsimile, cable, wire, the Internet or any other similar medium.

So IGN decided to check with Tony Cabot, an attorney with Lionel Sawyer and Collins, a Nevada law firm which represents a variety of gaming interest and was credited in helping to write the bill on behalf of the Nevada Resort Association. Cabot, who also authored the Internet Gambling Report noted that these reports were "only half correct." Cabot said, "It does not ban gambling over the Internet. It only provides that Nevada residents can only bet with someone who is licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission. For example, under the law, a Nevada license holder could accept wagers over the Internet from Nevada residents. A Nevada license holder cannot accept wagers from an out-of-state resident, however, by telephone, the Internet or otherwise.

He added, "The State Gaming Control Board added language to the bill that makes it illegal for a person to act as a paid messenger bettor for out-of-state bettors. For example, a bookie from New York could not call or e-mail bets to a paid messenger to place at a Nevada book. These are typically called 'lay-off' bets." Others in the gaming industry agreed that the bill was primarily aimed at the "beards" or runners who make such bets in sportsbooks….often for large East Coast betting syndicates.