The question of how to manage cheating in the world of online poker has been in existence since the game was founded. There have also been plenty of suggestions (regulatory agencies, organizations, etc.) regarding how to address the question. The state of Nevada recently proposed the creation of an online poker “black book,” but those efforts have come to an end, at least for 2023.
Nevada Proposal Dies in Committee
The Nevada General Assembly recently entertained the question of cheating in online poker with the consideration of a bill. The bill, called AB380, would have allowed the Nevada Gaming Control Board to create and maintain a record of players who had cheated on the online poker sites of the state. The proposal was along the lines of the “List of Excluded Persons,” or the “Black Book,” that the NGCB maintains regarding undesirables in the casinos of Nevada.
The bill was the creation of Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and Sara Ralston, who formerly worked with the state’s Patient Protection Commission. Ralston, an occasional poker player, felt that there was a need for transparency in the online poker industry in Nevada, especially when it came to those who were prohibited from playing on online poker sites (currently Nevada does not regulate any other online gaming).
The proposed “Black Book” for online poker was perhaps doomed from the start. The legislation would have required the online poker sites (currently only one, WSOP.com) to have given up a great deal of information on the players in question and the internal deliberations of the site. This is why the parent company of WSOP.com, Caesars Entertainment, objected to the bill, besides the factor that they indicated they already are in close cooperation with the NGCB on the cheating issue.
In the end, the Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Assemblywoman Brittney Miller, informed the Speaker and Ms. Ralston that the proposed bill did not have the votes to pass out of the committee and it was withdrawn. Ralston has already committed to lobbying for the bill again, especially with Nevada’s interstate compact with New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan (Pennsylvania is also available to join the group, the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement). That will not be until 2025, however, with the next session of the Nevada Legislature.
Could an Online Poker “Black Book” Work?
There are plenty of things that shot down the proposal from Yeager and Ralston. The biggest one was that the online sites were forced to give up their information. Under the casino “Black Book,” a casino must request that a person is put on the list. For the online poker “Black Book,” however, it was required that the online site(s) give up the name, location, and aliases of any that had been kicked off the site.
The online game has not exactly earned the benefit of the doubt on this subject, though. Online sites around the world routinely ban players from their sites for a variety of reasons, most often that the players have violated their Terms & Conditions (T&C) in some manner. These violations can include issues like using Real Time Assistance (RTA) software while playing, multi-accounting, or some other violation of the rules as established by the online sites.
An online poker “Black Book” could work, but it is going to take more than one state to do it. It would take the work of the industry, the players, and the governments to commit to such proposals. That is not likely to happen any time soon, however, with the level of competition between the different entities and the myriad of online poker regulations that are out there.