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Nevada gaming chief wants law to wiretap illegal bookies

CARSON CITY — Underground or illegal bookies could soon find themselves being wiretapped under a bill being pushed by Nevada’s gaming regulators.

Senate Bill 46 would allow the Nevada Attorney General’s office and district attorneys to apply for a court order that would allow them to intercept communications while investigating people suspected of accepting bets or running gaming operation without a license. Nevada law currently allows prosecutors to apply for such authority in other types of investigations, such as violent or property crimes.

The bill had its first hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, with Gaming Control Board chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan giving lawmakers an overview of what the bill would do. No one spoke in support or against the bill. and no action was taken on it by the committee.

Morgan said in an interview after the hearing that state regulators deal with illegal gaming operations “all the time,” and the bill would give them another tool to combat those kinds of activities.

“In order to ensure that we are able to properly regulate the gaming industry, it’s important to have access to people who are running illegal or underground gaming operations,” Morgan said. “If we could get ahead of it and be able to have that access, and intercept those communications, we’d be able to better safeguard the public, get in front of it, instead of finding out about it after we get complaints from people that have been victims of illegal gambling operations.”

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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