Nevada is first state to legalize online gambling

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Nevada's governor has signed into law a bill which legalizes Internet gambling. Consequently, Nevada has become the first U.S. state to legalize online gambling. The AB114 bill (pdf) also authorizes Nevada to make deals with other states, allowing them to participate in Nevada's "interactive gaming" efforts and even share revenues. AV114 slid through Nevada's legislature with unanimous support.

"This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada," Governor Sandoval said. "Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada."

Sandoval is not only the governor of the most synonymous state with gambling, but also a former Nevada Gaming Commission chairman. Sandoval likely has a deep interest in the state's gambling and gaming success.

One hurdle for online gambling in the U.S. was the Wire Act of 1961. The federal law prohibits the "transmission of a wire communication" which results in someone who places a winning bet/wager to receive payment. In 2011, The U.S. Department of Justice upheld (pdf) the belief of the state of Illinois that the Wire Act only applied to sports-related wagers and not lottery-style gambling. This ruling opened up states to make their own decisions in regards to online gambling.

To legally provide online gambling in the state, the bill passed on Thursday imposes a $500,000 entry fee -- this is half of the proposed $1 million originally suggested. Yearly renewal fees for online gaming operations weigh in at $250,000.

New Jersey is expected to be the next state to sign a a similar bill into law. State officials had already attempted to pass similar legislation, but the bill was subsequently vetoed by the state's governor due to disagreements regarding certain aspects of the bill.

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