Meeting comes during concern about federal action regarding iGaming

Nevada Governor Sandoval, AG Sessions To Meet; Will Online Gambling Come Up?

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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions are scheduled to meet tomorrow. One item likely to come up in their discussion: Online gambling.

Sandoval + Sessions = ?

We know that Sandoval and Sessions will meet on Wednesday:

What they will talk about is not known. But there are a wide array of topics that the AG’s office would be involved with that would impact state governments in general and Nevada in particular.

Sandoval is also the vice-chair of the National Governors Association, and could wear both hats in his meeting with Sessions. Because of recent chatter, it’s fair to guess the topic of online gambling will come up.

Online gambling and Sessions

Rumors have been circulating that Sessions is revisiting, in some way, the 2011 Department of Justice memo that says the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. That 2011 memo paved the way for states to legalize online poker and gambling, if they so choose. So far, only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have gone that route.

Sessions, at his confirmation hearing, said he wasn’t a fan of that DOJ decision, when asked directly. What Sessions might do in the short term about iGaming is unknown. It’s at least possible the chatter will remain just that, with no public action or statement.

It’s not clear if the timing of this chatter has anything to do with Sandoval’s audience with Sessions.

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Online gambling and Sandoval

There has been online gambling talk from the other side of the meeting, as well, however.

The NGA penned a letter to Sessions earlier this month on the topic of online gambling. Sandoval signed that letter, which said, in part:

The nation’s governors are concerned with legislative or administrative actions that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales.

The regulation of gaming has historically been addressed by the states. While individual governors have different views about offering gaming—in a variety of forms—within their own states, we agree that decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input.

Nevada only has online poker right now. But the state that is the birthplace of regulated gambling in the US would like to keep its options open for the future. Sandoval has also expressed interest in future interstate agreements regarding online poker.

Will Sandoval and Sessions talk iGaming, and will it make a difference? We may find out tomorrow.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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