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Nevada may legalize Internet gambling, avoid federal law
By Gene Koprowski
The Nevada Gaming Control board is examining the possibility of legalizing Internet gaming, as the regulators eye a study by UNLV that shows interest amongst Nevada residents in online gambling.
The federal Internet Gaming Prohibition Act (IGPA) bans the financial transaction on games of chance for people in the United States. But Nevada regulators say that may not be the last word on the matter. "There is some ability, or there is some argument, that now there is an exemption to the federal law," said Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander.
That's the exact same exemption which allows wagering on horse races. Neilander said gaming companies and technology companies have asked regulators to license Internet gambling sites based in Nevada. "A number of these groups have said, "Why don't you look at regulating it just for Nevada?"
The companies claimed that a majority of Nevada residents gamble on the Internet, so the Gaming Control Board commissioned the University of Nevada, Los Vegas (UNLV) study to find supporting facts.
The director of the UNLV Gambling Institute, Bo Bernhard conducted the study. He said 65.4-percent of people in Nevada don't have a negative opinion about gambling online. His she study also demonstrated that 3.7% of people in Nevada have gambled online in the past five years. "As it stands right now it appears to be a relatively low prevalence behavior," said Bernhard.
Gaming regulators may decide "to wait and see" if interest increases among Nevada gamblers.
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