Gambling is still being debated in Nevada—not its legalization obviously, but its regulations. Many gaming company CEOs are worried because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for legalizing online gambling. Casino operators are worried that this could seriously move in on their own businesses and create more financial stress for the state. Considering that Nevada has suffered greatly due to the recession and is showing only small signs of revival, this is an important problem for Nevada officials to figure out. Originally Reid stated he was supporting online poker’s legalization, but not all online gambling. The reason was because poker is classified in a different category than other forms of gambling due to its mixture of luck and strategy. It isn’t solely a game of luck and therefore it isn’t a typical “gambling” game. When Reid first entered the debates he was only supporting poker, but now he has changed his tune. Now Reid is saying he will support online gambling as a whole.
Casino operators are worried because they know that once online poker is legalized in Nevada, other games are sure to follow quickly behind. With a huge internet market and millions of players logging in online rather than venturing to land-based casinos, Nevada officials are concerned they are signing their own death sentence. They are worried that players will opt for online gambling and all its flexibility and convenience rather than travel to casinos. Since the recession, Nevada’s numbers have been drastically down and the state’s economy is not much better. Recent numbers showed that in the city of Las Vegas, more than 60% of homeowners are either in foreclosure, or they are defaulting on their home loans to some degree. This is terrible news now that the one industry casino operators were hoping would pull them out of the slump is in danger of losing even more customers. If the laws change considerably, more customers may be attracted to online gambling and forget about venturing to support their favorite land-based casino. That would mean more layoffs and possibly even closing down some casinos in Las Vegas.