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Nevada mulls over accepting wagers from outside the state

As Nevada increasingly experiences more competition from states offering legalized sports betting, (a consequence of lifting the federal ban this summer), the state is weighing up the prospect of allowing the acceptance of wagers placed by customers based outside its borders.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board convened in October to discuss the idea. Competition from at least five states that now offer legalised sports wagers has resulted in the Board proposing to upgrade regulations of Nevada’s industry, providing the federal government and other state governments allow it.

Ten representatives from Nevada’s gaming industry provided testimony towards a string of proposed amendments to gaming regulations within the state, including Regulation 22, which outlines the management of sports pools and race books. The changes already mooted include amending existing regulation that restricts sportsbooks and race books accepting bets from those outside of Nevada’s border. The amendment would include the statement: “unless such wagers are legal in the jurisdiction from which they originate and federal law allows such wagers…”. Put simply, the amendments would enable Nevada-based sportsbooks and race books to accept wagers from those based in New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia, as well as Nevada. New Mexico recently became the sixth U.S. state to legalize sports wagers at one of its tribal casinos in the Albuquerque region.

The proposed changes would also scrap the need for a player registering for a new iGaming account to provide their Social Security details. Instead, new registrants would be asked to submit only the final four digits of their number. Discussions have also taken place about the inclusion of a new requirement that enforces sportsbooks to honor winning betting tickets for 12 months after a live event, as opposed to the existing 30-day rule.

It would appear that most of these stipulations would not be applicable under the existing Interstate Wire Act (1961), which prohibits the transmission of betting on sports across state borders. Nevada could be prepared to propose amendments to create a broader, more contemporary Wire Act which would pertain only to states where mobile sports betting is permitted.

Almost all iGaming operators now have mobile platforms available, allowing players to enjoy their favorite games and place sports wagers on the go. In New Jersey’s regulated iGaming market, players are permitted to set up iGaming accounts without having to be physically present at a land-based casino. This boon has resulted in NJ’s remote sports wagering revenues overtaking those placed in bricks-and-mortar sportsbooks and casinos.

Despite the improved regulated betting landscape in New Jersey and the legalization of wagering in New Mexico, Las Vegas still appears to be thriving, according to recent figures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. September 2018 recorded an all-time high sports pool win of $56.3 million, with total volume of $571 million recorded. The Board revealed that $389 million of this total volume was placed on NFL and college football. How long Nevada’s betting volumes will remain at such high levels remains to be seen; particularly with other U.S. states beginning to legalize wagering in their state lines.

Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania have all legalized sports betting but, as yet, these states have not yet passed regulations to permit their own sportsbooks to accept wagers. Momentum is also gathering pace for legalized sports wagering in Colorado, the District of Columbia and Indiana. Lawmakers in Indiana appear ready to not only embrace sports wagering, but online and mobile wagering too. The addition of permitted mobile wagering could result in an increase of $250 million in annual revenues for Indiana, according to gambling industry research specialists, Eilers and Krejcik.

Although a string of mid-Atlantic and north-eastern U.S. states have already forged ahead with legalization action, it seems the mid-west states could also be preparing to follow suit. In Ohio, state lawmakers have pencilled in a new bill for its 2019 session. Given Indiana’s desire to get in on the action, its neighboring Kentucky state also seems keen to do so. Its lawmakers have already filed a sports betting bill for 2019’s session, too. It’s certainly an exciting time for the regulated U.S. gambling industry, and those in Vegas will be watching with interest as to whether Nevada can sustain its position as the number-one state for revenues; particularly as it has come under fire from Macau in the Far East, on a global scale.


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