Online Poker Report

Former NV Regulator Lipparelli: Some States Will Skip Regulation, Allow Cross-Border Access

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Individual states may eventually permit residents to access online poker and gambling sites in other legalized states without going through the complex legislative process to regulate and license online gambling within their own borders.

Mark Lipparelli, the former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB), recently told Card Player that he envisions that a number of states will enter into agreements allowing for citizens from those states to legally gamble at established gaming sites found in regulated states such as New Jersey and Nevada.

Why agreements over regulation?

Such agreements would do away with the need for compacts, necessitating only some form of cross-border partnerships. It would require those states that choose not to operate online gaming sites, but would like to participate in the gambling regimes of other states, to change their laws to permit Internet gambling in other jurisdictions.

“Not every state is going to try to navigate a complex regulatory and licensing structure,” Lipparelli stated, adding that “permissions between states are more likely the way to go.”

As is evident from the delays experienced in Nevada, licensing and software testing is a long, drawn-out process that many states may not want to get involved in. The Silver State approved online poker in late 2011, but only Ultimate Poker has launched thus far. Repeated delays have pushed back the launch dates of several sites such as WSOP.com and South Point Poker.

Lipparelli added that the more that state lawmakers can be flexible in partnering with other states, the better off the online poker and gambling industry will be. He sees some compacts being reached in 2014, but warned that very complex compact agreements will be tedious and time-consuming.

“The notion of having far-reaching agreements [between states] is not the right direction,” Lipparelli said. “I could foresee some jurisdictions incorporating a change in the law that says something to the effect of that if it’s a licensed entity from another jurisdiction that such play can take place within that border.”

Window Closed for Federal Bill

While many still hold out hope that federal lawmakers will one day approve online poker legislation, Lipparelli has changed his stance on the issue. He once had envisioned that federal legislators could work something out, but now believes that ship has sailed.

“I don’t anticipate that there’s much hope for any federal progress, Lipparelli said. “I think that the time for federal legislation is probably behind us.”

Lipparelli sat on the GCB from 2009 until stepping down in September, 2012. He’s once again toiling in the private sector and has also done some consulting work in the gaming industry since resigning from the control board.

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