AB 414, the bizarre bill seeking to limit Nevada’s ability to enter into interstate online gaming agreements, has died after failing to pass through the Committee on Judiciary before the legislative deadline.
AB 414 would have prohibited Nevada from entering into interstate agreements with other states for anything other than online poker.
AB 414 passed through the Assembly on April 17 and from there went on to the State Senate where it was read and referred to the Judiciary Committee on April 20.
No further action was taken.
The latest update to the bill occurred on May 16 and reads, “Pursuant to Joint Standing Rule No. 14.3.3, no further action allowed.”
“The final standing committee to which a bill or joint resolution is referred in the second House may only take action on the bill or joint resolution on or before the 103rd calendar day of the legislative session.
A bill may be re-referred after that date only to the Committee on Finance or the Committee on Ways and Means and only if the bill is exempt pursuant to subsection 1 of Joint Standing Rule No. 14.6.”
In laymen’s terms, AB 414 failed to pass through the state senate prior to the 103rd day of the legislative session.
Without some political maneuvering that would allow the bill to somehow be referred to the Finance or Ways and Means Committee, AB 414’s run has come to an end.
Since its introduction, the bill’s purpose has baffled iGaming insiders.
As noted in a previous column at USPoker.com, poker is the only online game for which liquidity is coveted.
In effect, AB 414 would merely continue the status quo, as no one in Nevada (or elsewhere for that matter) has been looking into interstate compacts for games other than poker. It did not appear as the bill would impact liquidity sharing between online poker sites in Nevada (WSOP NV) and Delaware (888-powered network).
Despite seemingly doing nothing, AB 414 received a lot of attention from industry analysts and pundits as it had powerful supporters, including Sheldon Adelson.
Adelson is hell-bent on banning online gambling, and with his support there was a growing anxiety in the iGaming community that some key detail of AB 414 was being overlooked and Adelson was moving in for a check-mate.
Las Vegas Sands felt strongly enough about the bill to have lobbyist Robert Uithoven testify before the assembly on April 7.
He spent the bulk of his time denigrating online gaming, and said of AB 414:
“AB 414 will clarify that if you want to enter into online gambling compacts with Nevada, it must be poker only. And if poker only cannot survive online, as it was sold to all of us just two years ago, let it die.”
As noted above, without invoking some obscure procedural trick, AB 414 is unlikely to be re-referred in 2015.
Its future beyond this session is as unclear as its original intent.
If there is some strategic reason for the bill, it won’t be able to be reintroduced until 2017, given that the Nevada Legislature operates on a biennial schedule.
On the other hand, if it was merely a way for Las Vegas Sands to publicly disparage regulated online gambling’s results thus far (such as Uithoven’s testimony), they can already raise the mission accomplished banner.