Nevada Bill Could Harm WSOP

Nevada Bill Could Harm WSOP

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Could a proposed Nevada gambling law bring an end to staking at the WSOP? That's the question players across the community are currently asking following the filing of a piece of legislation entitled SB 40.

Although currently in the initial stages of consideration, the Nevada Gaming Control Board's bill is designed to reduce the risk of money laundering through sports betting by criminalising the receipt "directly or indirectly" of any compensation (cash) or sharing of a prize with anyone "accepting or facilitating any bet or wager upon the result of any race, sporting event or future contingent."

This somewhat vague description of what constitutes an activity where receiving a prize or percentage of someone's winnings has raised questions of the potential legality of staking agreements.

Despite the bill being designed to combat issues with sports betting, the law also seems to suggest that poker players buying and selling pieces of each other during events in Nevada, such as the WSOP, would be breaking the law if the bill is brought into effect.

As yet the Gambling Control Board have yet to clarify its position on poker staking, but if it does take the view that such activities would be punishable (six years in jail/ or a $5,000 fine), then it could be disastrous for events such as the $1 million One Drop charity event.

Traditionally, given the nature of the buy-in, professionals have sold pieces of their action in order to fund their entry. However, if SB 40 is accepted and poker is brought into its remit, then this would no longer be possible and could easily contribute to the event's downfall.

Fortunately, there bill has only just been pre-filed and there is plenty of time for the Gaming Control Board to see the damage this legislation could do to the poker community and the WSOP; an industry that contributes massively to the annual turnover of Las Vegas.

However, should the lawmakers take a hard stance against the threat of money laundering from both the sports betting world and the poker community, then it could dramatically alter the complexion of the WSOP for many years to come.

Tags: Nevada, staking