The race to become the first state in the U.S. to allow legal widespread online gambling is on.
The Nevada legislature today fast-tracked an online gaming bill that would allow the state to move ahead with online poker and join interstate compacts.
The legislature declared an emergency measure to get it to Gov. Brian Sandoval for signature. Later in the day Sandoval signed the bill.
Nevada not only wants online poker, but also wants it fully legal before New Jersey, according to a story with The Las Vegas Sun.
“We’re going to do it now,” said Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas in the article. “We’re going to beat New Jersey.”
Earlier this month New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave the greenlight for online poker in New Jersey with a few conditions.
Gov. Sandoval called the Nevada online poker bill his biggest priority and urged lawmakers to pass it within the first 30 days of assembly.
Pete Ernaut, lobbyist for the Nevada Resort Association, even went so far as to call the burgeoning battle between Nevada and New Jersey as the “gaming version of the space race.”
A federal online poker bill failed to pass in late 2012, which has left individual states scrambling to pass their own poker bills.
New Jersey, Delaware and Las Vegas are the only states that already have online gambling laws in place, but other states are starting to consider their own proposals.
The Nevada bill would ban operators who illegally offered online poker in the U.S. between 2006 and 2011 for five years.