The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) has signed off on a series of small but substantial changes to rules related to the state’s gaming licensing and revocation process as regulators continue the process of updating or streamlining the state’s rules, some of which have been in effect for decades.
Among the regulatory changes approved by the NGC on Thursday (July 28) were updates to harmonize the revocation process with gaming devices and associated equipment, as well as allowing the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), depending on the risk, to consider changing a gaming entity requiring a license to a registration.
The NGCB granted initial approval of the changes at its June meeting.
“The goal is to really to consolidate into one place the registration requirements for four different types of registrations that the investigative division is interested in essentially treating very similarly,” said Mike Somps, senior deputy attorney general with the Nevada attorney general’s office.
Those would be registrations for manufacturers and distributors, associated equipment, service providers and independent hosts, and junkets or “independent agents,” which is anybody who approves or grants the extension of gaming credit on behalf of a licensee.
To accomplish that goal, Somps said, the NGCB added a new section to the state’s gaming regulations.
He said that the new section covers the application and renewal requirements, the length the registrations are valid, the ability of the NGCB chair to object to a registration during the application process or cancel the registration after it becomes effective.
Currently, the NGCB is allowed to immediately revoke any gaming device that represents a risk to integrity and well-being in Nevada.
Another amendment adopted Thursday by the commission is designed to make the notice provisions for associated equipment license approval or revocation mirror the notice requirements currently in place for gaming devices.
The fee for registering remains at $500, but the amount of the investigation fee can vary from $2,000 to $5,000 or more depending on the cost of the investigation. A previous draft version left the investigation fee up to the discretion of the control board chair.
Each registration is now valid for five years, instead of three years, while independent hosts now can act on behalf of more than one licensee.
“These changes, as you know, I have been pretty outspoken on … during these years on the commission to streamline some of these archaic regulations we have,” said commissioner Steven Cohen. “And slowly but surely we are getting there.”
Cohen said he believed the changes were helpful so that Nevada gaming licensees are not getting “bogged down in the quagmire of superfluous regulations, especially requirements that just don’t have a rhyme or reason to be as frequent as they are now.”
Regulatory Clean Up
Elsewhere, the commission will consider for final approval several amendments to regulations regarding the reporting of financial, tax and other company information at its August 24 meeting.
The three-member NGCB approved amendments to regulations on July 13 regarding information that needs to be furnished by licensees, unlicensed games, accounting records, records of ownership, audited financial statements, and slot machine tax and license fees.
Among the proposed changes is a requirement that every licensee report to the board annually, instead of quarterly, the name and address of every person, including lending agencies, “who has, or had during the previous 12 months, any right to share in the profits.”
“Part of this goes back to the whole … interaction with the [NGCB] chiefs and staff and say, 'Hey can we clean up some of this stuff?',” said NGCB member Phillip Katsaros. “Is it useful anymore? What’s the validity of this?”
Katsaros acknowledged that Nevada regulators had cleaned up some of the reporting obligations from licensees but only to the extent that the board still has the proper amount of regulatory oversight of these things.
“It’s cleaning up what we have. Stuff adds up,” said NGCB chairman Brin Gibson.