Internet Gambling Approved by Nevada Governor

Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has signed legislation that legalizes Internet gambling, though the first Internet casinos probably won't be licensed for a year and a half.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission will study Internet gaming systems and develop regulations.

"Nevada is at the forefront of legalized gaming in the United States, largely due to our regulatory agencies, which serve as a model for gaming regulation everywhere," Guinn told the newspaper. "With this bill, we will be prepared to continue to serve as leader in all areas of legalized gaming."

Gaming Control Board chairman Dennis Neilander has said the federal government believes Internet gaming is illegal. He said he wouldn't license Internet gambling without U.S. Justice Department approval.

Internet gambling industry revenue is expected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2000 to $6 billion by 2003, according to the New York investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. More than 800 off-shore Internet gambling sites exist.

Meanwhile, on the federal level, legislation that would prohibit Internet gambling could resurface in the next few weeks.