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September 23, 2014

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Nevada passes online poker bill, but gaming software not yet approved

CARSON CITY — Even though the Legislature rushed through a bill on Internet poker Thursday, the state has yet to approve the software to allow the game to be offered to the public.

The Assembly and the Senate gave unanimous approval to the emergency measure, and Gov. Brian Sandoval held a quick signing ceremony.

But A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said today the computer systems to put the game online are still being tested.

“We have to certify that the software meets state standards,” Burnett said. “The technicians are moving full steam ahead.”

He had no estimate when the first system would be approved.

The state Gaming Commission has issued licenses to nine operators to enter the online poker market. The 2011 Legislature opened the door for companies to offer Internet poker within Nevada.

The bill approved Thursday allows Nevada to sign agreements with other states to offer Internet poker.

Sandoval asked the Legislature to approve the bill within 30 days of the start of the session so Nevada could be the first to enter the field. New Jersey is considering a similar bill.

Sandoval said the bill would “usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada. This bill is critical to our state’s economy and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard of gaming regulation.”

A bill in Congress to permit Internet gambling on a national level has been bottled up.

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