Earlier this week, the poker playing community across Nevada became confused by a new bill, known as SB40. It was originally designed to restrict certain types of sporting bets, but due to the ambiguous verbiage of the context, poker players were afraid the meaning would trickle over into P2P poker staking for tournaments like the WSOP. Clarification came down from the NGCB yesterday that the new gaming bill is aimed at “sports betting only”.
The specific intention of SB40 was to prevent criminals from laundering money through sports betting. The hackles of the poker community were raised by the widely encompassing text of the bill, which makes it illegal to receive “compensation or reward, or any percentage or share” of winnings from a “race, sporting event or future contingent event that is place on behalf of a person…”
That wording—particularly “future contingent event”—specifically correlates with card players who rely on P2P poker staking in tournaments. Every summer, the world’s most prestigious poker festival, the World Series of Poker, is played in Las Vegas, and due to several upscale buy-ins (i.e. $10k Main Event, $25k High Roller, $1mm Big On for One Drop), the community was certain that the WSOP would be ruined by Nevada’s new gaming bill.
Members of the TwoPlusTwo forum spent days debating the meaning of “future contingent event” and its impending effects on P2P poker staking. A few players naturally assumed the worst and held nothing back in expressing their irascibility. Radio host Mark Hoke, of The Mark Hoke Show, was one such person, but he went directly to the source, posting his aversion to SB40 on LegiScan.com, a website dedicated to publicizing legislation from all 50 states. Mr. Hoke wrote:
|“This has got to be one of the most ridiculous anti-gaming bills ever introduced. You will leave poker players no choice but to leave Nevada and along with that the most public event in the state – the World Series of Poker. This bill must be stopped in committee or the poker community will speak with their wallets, their departure from Nevada and their votes. Who exactly sponsored this bill? We’d like to have a sitdown with them. I will personally be campaigning against this bill on my radio show in Las Vegas.”|
Surely Mark Hoke’s blood pressure returned to a more moderate level yesterday when A. G. Burnett, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, responded to questioning from industry news outlet, Pokerfuse.com, regarding clarification as to the breadth of SB40’s intentions:
|“I’ve seen a couple articles on the Board’s bill regarding certain types of wagers. Just to clarify, this isn’t a poker bill—it is solely related to sports betting only.”|
As for any relation to P2P poker staking, Burnett also cleared up the confusion surrounding use of the term “future contingent event”:
|“The reason for the ‘future contingent event’ is that our sports books don’t always take strictly sports-related bets; we have allowed them to take non sports bets in the past and the possibility exists that they might be allowed in the future.. [SB40] is centered on bets occurring in sports books only.”|