Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Monday that he supports federal legislation to legalize and regulate online poker, rather than Nevada Assembly Bill 258 , which would regulate online poker locally in the Silver State, according to an article by the Las Vegas Sun .In an interview on Nevada Newsmakers , Sandoval said that he will communicate with the state legislature to explain his stance that Nevada should not be in conflict with the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act ( UIGEA ) .“I don’t want the state to be in contravention of the federal law,” Sandoval said in the interview.AB258, which was introduced on Mar. 10 by Assembly Chairman William Horne with backing from online site PokerStars, has had a single hearing, and no further action has taken place on the legislation. According to the Las Vegas Sun , Horne said there might be amendments to the bill, and that he plans to push his leglislation along, regardless of what position the governor takes.With the public announcement regarding his position on AB258, Sandoval joins a near majority of Nevada brick-and-mortar casinos, such as vocal opponents Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, in support of blanket federal intervention rather than Nevada-only law.Despite the most promising developments occurring at the state level over the last month, rather than in the United States Congress, Nevada land-based casinos have been positioning themselves for the future of legalized and regulated internet poker, whether it be across the country, or in Nevada and neighboring jurisdictions that would allow gambling over the internet.The flurry of business deals last month began when the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved the suitability of a relationship between Caesars Entertainment, owner of the World Series of Poker brand , with subsidiaries of 888. Soon after, PokerStars partnered with Wynn Resorts , potentially creating a joint website should internet poker become authorized. Before the end of March, Full Tilt Poker established a relationship with Fertitta Interactive , an entity established and co-owned by Station Casinos’ founders.Despite all the rumblings at the state level, the historic business partnerships between Nevada gaming entities and foreign poker providers have not expressly offered support for AB258. Even the deal between PokerStars — the force behind Nevada’s poker bill — and Wynn Resorts stated in a press release that the companies will first work to secure the passage of federal legislation. Senator Harry Reid failed to pass an online poker bill at the last session of Congress, but the fight was revived last month when Congressmen Barney Frank and John Campbell introduced another attempt at online poker legislation .While nearly every Nevada casino, as well as Governor Sandoval, opposes the bill in favor of federal lawmaking, there has been one Nevada gaming entity to explicitly offer public support for AB258 since it was proposed. In March, South Point Hotel and Casino owner Michael Gaughan issued a statement pushing for Nevada’s legalization of online poker, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal .While each side of the debate in Nevada is obtaining supporters, other places across the country have also entered into the race to offer intrastate or localized internet poker operations. On Friday it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that Washington D.C. could become the first location to offer regulated online card playing . New Jersey, Iowa, Florida, California, and Hawaii are also the hunt to bypass federal legislation, but face road blocks from those who support regulated online poker only at the federal level.
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