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EDITORIAL: Nevada should lead way on daily fantasy sports regulation

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have expressed skepticism about the importance of fantasy football in an applause line at a Republican debate in October, but the fact is, it’s serious business for those in the business of gambling regulation.

That’s why Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decision to convene the Gaming Policy Committee to discuss daily fantasy sports, among other issues, is a welcome development for an industry that’s recently come under a great deal more scrutiny.

In October, Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett issued a memo confirming what many have long believed: Daily fantasy sports is, in fact, sports wagering, and anybody who does it in Nevada must be licensed by the state. The industry disagrees, saying its players are engaging in a game of skill. But the largest daily fantasy sports websites stopped doing business here, out of deference to the state ruling.

Things cannot end there, however.

As the Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz reported on Sunday, states with some of the largest markets of daily fantasy sports players are considering some form of regulation for the industry. Those include California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida. Nevada should not lag behind these states when it comes to taking action on this emerging industry.

Gov. Sandoval last convened the Gaming Policy Committee in 2012, to discuss online wagering. The state later passed a bill that regulated online poker, and enabled the state to establish compacts with other states that have done the same. Clearly, the governor’s intent is to fashion some form of legislative solution to the daily fantasy sports question.

“Nevada has always been the epicenter for global gaming entertainment, regulation, and innovation,” Gov. Sandoval said in a statement last month. “The industry is constantly changing as more states and countries enter into this increasingly competitive field, and I believe the changes we are witnessing demand the attention of Nevada’s policy leaders.”

Indeed, they do. Nevada is known as the “gold standard” for gambling regulation in the United States, and with good reason. It’s approach to regulation embraces new technology and innovation, while ensuring fair games and protecting the rights of players. There is no reason any other state should jump ahead of Nevada when it comes to dealing with this issue.

“There is no better place in the world to host this important conversation than Nevada, and I look forward to working with this Committee and its stakeholders to continue to set the pace and standards for the global gaming industry,” Gov. Sandoval said.

Amen to that, governor.

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