Nevada Close to Expansion of Account Wagering

Broad gaming and pari-mutuel legislation that passed the Nevada Senate and Assembly allows for an expansion of account wagering in the state.

Current law permits licensed facilities such as casino race books to accept wagers "made by wire communications from patrons within the state of Nevada." The bill that went to Gov. Kenny Guinn adds allows for patrons from other states in which account wagering is legal, "or from places outside the United States in which such wagering is legal," to make bets.

The Nevada Gaming Commission must sign off on the measure.

Nevada has limited live racing at county fairs. Most of the state's annual handle of more than $450 million is generated at race books. Handle has decreased in Nevada over the last several years.

A story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal said officials believe account wagering will permit the race books to compete with other states such as California, where account wagering was legalized in early 2002. Since that time, handle via telephone and Internet betting has steadily grown in the Golden State.

The Nevada legislation also alters distribution of gaming license fees to provide more money for purses in certain counties in which live pari-mutuel racing his held. Money would be used to "augment any stakes, purses, or rewards which are offered with respect to horse races conducted in that county by a state fair association, agricultural society or county fair and recreation board."

Live racing is held at places such as the Humboldt County Fair in Winnemucca, which offered a two-day mule racing meet May 31-June 1, and in Elko, which offers mixed-breed horse racing from Aug. 22-Sept. 1.