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Nevada Legislators Fold On Poker Blacklist Bill

Caesars representatives testified to the state legislature that they oppose a bill to create a blacklist for Nevada online poker cheaters

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Derek Helling Avatar
3 mins read

After the only active Nevada online poker provider took a seat at the table, Nevada legislators realized things were getting serious. Advocates of adjusting online gambling regulations will have to shuffle their decks.

A bill that proposed creating a blacklist for people who cheat while playing online has seen its last hand. Caesars Entertainment representatives were among those making it clear that they wanted nothing to do with its provisions.

Caesars weighs in on Nevada online poker bill

Currently, WSOP.com is the only legal and operational online poker site in Nevada. BetMGM also has a license but has yet to launch any of its products in the state.

Caesars operates WSOP.com, so its words carry weight in the Nevada online poker realm. Recently, two representatives of the company didn’t mince those words on AB380.

According to Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, both lobbyists Mike Alonso and Caesars Digital Vice President of Online Poker Danielle Barille participated in a hearing on AB380 earlier this month. Their positions were unified in opposition.

“Caesars is doing everything it can reasonably do to keep bad actors off the site based on its terms of service,” Alonso said during the hearing. “In other words, bad actors shouldn’t be on the site and you shouldn’t be playing against them.”

Barille expunged more details about exactly how Caesars goes about enforcing those TOS.

“While we do not disclose security protocols, every hand played on WSOP.com is monitored through advanced algorithms and our software and dedicated full-time staff,” Barille explained. “We flag things like sharing the device with another player, running prohibited software while playing, IP address changes, and physical movements. We monitor game-play patterns to previous patron history and investigate every accusation made to our customer service.”

Overall, the perspectives of both Alonso and Barille boiled down to two arguments; the existing regulations are sufficient to thwart cheating and AB380 would just have created more work. Their arguments did not fall on deaf ears.

What’s in AB380 and what is its status?

AB380 met opposition from the start in the Nevada legislature. Even a professional poker player who helped draft it, Sara Cholhagian Ralston, expressed disappointment with its development.

Ralston said she intended to give players more information about who they are facing in games. However, AB380’s main effect was creating a public list of players who have been banned or suspended for rule violations.

Velotta reports that Alonso laid out Caesars’ position on why that idea is both potentially costly and unnecessary.

“Caesars is concerned that the bill as proposed and the proposed amendment may provide actually less transparency than what is there at a very significant cost to Caesars and its customers,” Alonso said. “Caesars believes that publicly listing its customers will only lead to expensive and burdensome litigation for damaging someone’s reputation or from players who think that they lost money to an alleged cheater and want compensation.”

Barille added that Caesars’ existing TOS and the current Nevada regulations already provide mechanisms for reporting players who cheat. Furthermore, she pointed out that maintaining a public list would require more labor from state regulators.

According to Sean Golonka and Tabitha Mueller of the Nevada Independent, the Judiciary Committee killed AB380. This past Friday was the deadline for bills to progress out of their assigned committees in the Assembly. The committee never took a vote on the proposal.

While AB380 has seen its last hand, the issue isn’t leaving the table. It’s unclear exactly how prevalent cheating is on WSOP.com in Nevada. That’s part of the problem.

How online poker players might try to cheat

The opposition to creating a blacklist is considerable. However, there is broad support for providing more information to players about who is cheating and how often that occurs on WSOP.com in Nevada.

Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager, who is on the Judiciary Committee, espoused increasing accountability and transparency on the platform. Barille’s comments offer clues as to how players might try to break the rules to gain an advantage. Some common attempted methods include:

  • Off-platform communication between players in an attempt to manipulate outcomes
  • Running multiple accounts from the same device at the same time
  • Tracking software that records player interactions to decipher trends
  • Using probability calculators live during games

Ralston and Yeager want to force Caesars to show its hand regarding cheating on WSOP.com. Caesars, however, says it’s impossible to do that without losing the game entirely.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

View all posts by Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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