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Gov. Brian Sandoval Eyes Summer Launch for Nevada/Delaware Internet Poker Compact

Las Vegas

Nevada and Delaware could launch their interstate online poker compact as early as this summer, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said on Friday during the iGaming North America conference in Las Vegas. The deal is part of the recently-signed Multi-State Internet Wager Agreement which will allow the states to share online poker player pools.

Gov. Sandoval and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell endorsed the poker-only interstate compact late last month, making it the first of its kind in the U.S. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are the only three states to legalize a regulated online poker platform, but the player pools are currently segregated in each state.

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal's Howard Stutz, Sandoval repeated on Friday that he's had discussions with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about the Garden State joining the compact, but no progress has been made thus far. Sandoval told Review Journal reporters earlier this week that he's had informal meetings about Internet poker with other governors as well, but made it clear that he's not interested in any form of online betting other than poker.

"I think it’s important for them to know that we’re capable of doing this," Sandoval said, according to the Review-Journal. "I trust the regulatory process we have. We vetted this with Delaware for several months and we’re currently building the platform."

When the interstate platform does launch, players in Nevada and Delaware will log into local online poker sites, where they will find tables that include players located in both states. While the player pools will be combined, players in Nevada will remain subject to Nevada law, and Delaware players will be subject to Delaware law.

The compact between the two states has found opposition in many forms, most notably Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson who is backing a bill that would ban all forms of Internet gambling in the U.S. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is expected to introduce the bill next week.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is also expected to introduce a similar anti-online gambling bill next week. PokerNews' Matthew Kredell believes Graham and Chaffetz could pair the bills together to create a bigger impact.

Sandoval said on Friday that he's not concerned about a federal bill shutting down the existing online poker operation in Nevada.

"I would question whether federal law could come in and supersede our state’s laws," Sandoval said, according to the Review-Journal.

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Photo c/o Christopher Chan

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