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As I See It

13 May 2002

It is that time of year when a lot of people I speak to, but seldom see, wind up in Las Vegas for a little R&R.

Some of those passing through were Brian and Marcy, from Multi Media, who handle my web page; Joe, from Hollywood International; Larry, from Del Mar Sports; and Roger from Heritage 2000.

A common thread of all these good friends is they like to play golf or poker or, in some cases, both.

The issues they covered when we met included individual goals as well as the problems that face their industry. They are most anxious to show that solid operations will be around for a long time.

Yes, I consider these guys friends, and there are quite a few other operations which would also fit the bill. And yes, they all had Cheshire cat smiles as they picked up every check, so I am sure business must be good.

Like most of you, I want the freedom of placing a wager on any gambling proposition from the comfort of my home, and would like to have any gray area about doing so cleared up post haste.

We still have the luxury of time, but the clock is ticking. There are things happening here in Nevada that might start to move the logjam. Most notably, for the first time in my 27 years of living here, the Nevada Gaming Commission is having an open meeting on the issue of allowing intrastate wagering, at which the general public will be allowed to state its views.

Now mind you, this is in-state only. But just to allow an open meeting is a huge step. The agency's commissioner stated that he needs help on the broader policy issues of people playing games from their homes.

The reason for this dilemma is that the regulators have seen the figures. Last year, Americans lost $1.2 billion gambling on the Internet, and according to the experts, that figure will triple in two years. Nevadans reportedly lost $40 million in cyber space last year. To put it bluntly, the commissioners ain't liking it.

You see, the way things are supposed to work here in Nevada, all you people come here a few times a year and "freak" off your cash, then go home to get more.

But with competition growing each year, with 39 states now offering some form of gambling, new revenue streams need to be developed. If it comes from your own, so be it. But it has to come from somewhere.

But when local officials start listening to the masses, that should speed up the process of knocking down some barriers.

A mere 10 years ago, the idea of this dialogue would have been considered blasphemy.

Remember, this business is cash driven and the majority of state operators will be pushing for approval. With temporary approval and a year-long field test, I believe in 18 months this thing will fly.

So, from the state that would dearly love to see every offshore gaming site just disappear from the face of the earth, its entry into the business, so to speak, might start clearing up what is legal or illegal.

You see, if this works, they will seek it on a state-to-state basis, and who knows where it will all end.

This is not going to happen overnight. But I believe in 10 years, the climate will be drastically changed in favor of people who enjoy gambling. By then, we will have the option of placing a wager from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world, without fear of repercussions.

A major step will be taken right here in Nevada, on May 16. And it will definitely put a bigger smile on the three amigos I just saw in Vegas.

Stay smart,

Jimmy V.

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