Greasing Online Gambling in Nevada

Reno 2011 — Last week a top Nevada state Legislature lawyer said it was okay for three state lawmakers to take overseas trips last year at the expense of an Internet poker company.   Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes says she told state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly members Kelvin Atkinson of North Las Vegas and William Horne of Las Vegas that the trips paid for by PokerStars were permissible.

Erdoes says that’s because online poker is becoming a legislative issue. Horne chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee and introduced Assembly Bill 258 to let the Nevada Gaming Commission adopt online poker regulations.

Shortly thereafter, a Nevada legislative panel amended and approved the bill that paving the way for Internet gambling. An amended version of AB258 directs the Nevada Gaming Commission to begin drafting rules to regulate online poker, but stipulates that Internet gambling would not be implemented until sanctioned by Congress or the Justice Department.

Then three days later it’s learned that the owners of three Internet poker companies are facing federal charges.  Federal prosecutors filed charges against the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars for allegedly violating U.S. anti-Internet gambling laws.

Now State Senator Greg Brower has called for an investigation into the political activities of one of three Internet gambling companies. He is questioning overseas-based PokerStars’ presence in Nevada because of its political action committee’s giving out of $272,000 in campaign contributions to state official’s last year.
According to PokerStar’s records — the following elected officials and candidates received PAC money:

Gov. Brian Sandoval $10,000
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki $3,000  
Secretary of State Ross Miller $5,000  
Treasurer Kate Marshall   $2,000 
Assembly Speaker John Oceguera $30,000
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford $37,500 and a trip to Nassau, Bahamas
Assemblyman William Horne $7,500 and a trip to London, England.
Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson  $5,000 and a trip to London, England.
Pete Goicoechea $14,000
Debbie Smith $12,500
Marcus Conklin $12,500
Marilyn Kirkpatrick $7,500
Joe Hardy $5,000
Ben Kieckhefer $5,000
James Settelmeyer $5,000
Mike McGinness $5,000
David Bobzien $4,000
Tick Segerblom $3,000
April Mastroluca $3,000
Lynn Stewart $3,000
Barbara Cegavske $3,000
Mark Manendo $2,500
Mo Denis $2,500
Ruben Kihuen $2,500
Tom Grady $2,500
John Hambrick $2,000
Olivia Diaz $2,000
Peggy Pierce $2,000
Marilyn Dondero Loop $2,000
Jason Frierson $2,000
Maggie Carlton $2,000
Richard Carillo $2,000
Steven Brooks $2,000
Lucy Flores $2,000
Irene Bustamante-Adams $2,000
Skip Daly $2,000
Cresent Hardy $2,000
Melissa Woodbury $2,000
Pat Hickey $2,000
Joe Hogan $1,500
Teresa Benitez-Thompson $1,500
Randy Kirner $1,500
John Ellison $1,500
Richard McArthur $1,000
Harvey Munford $1,000
Dina Neal $1,000
James Ohrenschall $1,000
Elliot Anderson $1,000
Paul Aizley $1,000
Pete Livermore $1,000
Don Gustavson $1,000
Ed Goedhart $500
Former Nevada gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid $10,000

Only Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Nevada State Controller Kim Wallin are the state’s two constitutional officers who did not receive campaign contributions. Of current lawmakers — 16 did not receive money from the PAC:  Scott Hammond, Ira Hansen, Kelly Kite, Mark Sherwood, Shirley Breeden, Bill Raggio, Greg Brower, Allison Copening, Elizabeth Halseth, John Lee, Sheila Leslie, David Parks, Dean Rhoads, Michael Roberson, Mike Schneider and Valerie Wiener.

(As of April 20, 2011 — all candidates and elected officials in the state of Nevada, have stated they shall return the contibutions given to them.)

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