A bill that is in Congress could effectively ban gambling and inadvertently criminalize the Nevada’s mobile sports wagering business. This has been credited with turning Silver State’s sports books into a massive $3.9 billion industry annually.
The Chairman backed by Las Vegas Sands Corp., aims to reverse the changes that were made during 2011 to the Federal Wire Act of 1961. If this bill is approved then it could end most or the different forms of online betting, this includes Nevada’s interactive poker.
This bill will stop the transmission of information through wire communication across the state lines, the mobile sport betting in Nevada could come to a halt which will cripple operators.
Joe Asher the CEO of USA William Hill, said that he did not think that was the intent of the bill, however, that they were concerned that it could be an unintended result of it.
During March of this year the Restoration of America’s Wire Act bill, was sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was given a hearing that was put before the House Judiciary crime’s subcommittee. The next step will be the Judiciary Committee session were this bill will be opened for amendments and votes. It is expected that a similar bill will be introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C into the Senate
A Spokesperson for the Las Vegas Sands declined to comment on this bill and the potential impact it will have on mobile sports wagering.
The discovery of the consequences of the bill was uncovered by Greg Gemignani,who is the Las Vegas gaming attorney, for the law firm of Dickinson Wright the Las Vegas Office. Attorney Gemignani, specializes in Internet gambling law, last year did research of the the bill, he found several issues that has the potentiality to ‘backfire on some of their operators based in Nevada”.
Adv. Gemignani also said the the wireless phone transmissions in Nevada which including mobile sports wagering will often travel through routers, in Arizona, California or through Utah due to the network function and topology. Under this bill, the transmission of gambling information, across those particular state lines, even the transmissions that originate and then end in Nevada, would be considered illegal.
As well as banning mobile sports wagering, this bill could also make it illegal for off-site Internet servers that us a virtual private network,which many of the older casinos utilize to operate their slot machine’s server-based, gaming systems.
The making of licensed and regulated online gambling illegal means that the bill is counter-productive said Adv. Gemignani.
During 2014 the Nevada Casinos accepted a record of $3.9 billion total sports wagers , this is an increase of 7.7 percent compare to 2013. Over the past 5 years sport betting has increased.
Analysis estimate that amounts wagered through mobile technology are as much as 30% of the total amount of all betting on sports. The Analysts have accredited this to in-game betting, this is where wager can be placed during the middle of a sporting event, thus increasing the state’s gaming handle.
Thousands of Nevadans bet sports events on mobile phone today, this is a highly regulated and appropriate betting option said Asher said. The idea of taking away customers’ ability to place bets on mobile phones, a key growth area of the business, does not make any sense.
Apart from William Hill there are several casino companies, Boyd Gaming Corp., Station Casinos, and the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa who offer their mobile customers sports wagering applications.
Observers have suggested that should the Wire Act be restored, then avenues should be available to address the various Nevada-centric issues later on.
Adelson, is a billionaire and who has influence with many of the Republican members of Congress, has vowed that he will spend whatever it will take to reinstate the restrictions on internet gambling. He considers the activity as being harmful to children and also problem gamblers and has expressed concern that there is no technology to regulate the internet. He has also found support from Chairman Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Many of the Major gaming companies that include Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International are opposed to the bill. Caesars operate legally online in Nevada and New Jersey.