The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) has proposed certain amendments to a regulatory framework that it has been developing ever since Governor Brian Sandoval gave it the authority to create online poker regulations. Last week, the NGC released a set of brand new rules for a Nevada-based interactive gambling system, which will operate online poker services within the state.

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The new rules go a step further in protecting the interests of customers. They make it mandatory for online poker service providers to set aside a reserve fund covering players’ total deposits. They also specify that a quarter of this fund must be in the form of cash.

According to the new rules, the online poker gaming service and the “federally insured financial institution,” which manages this reserve fund, must take all the required steps to protect this reserve fund from the operator’s debtors besides guaranteeing the funds for requests made by players alone.

A. G. Burnett, the member of the Gaming Control Board, said: “I think player fund [protection] goes to a core responsibility we have. With land-based operators facing uncertain financial times, that has been an issue of focus for us. We need to ensure that player funds are protected adequately and we spend a lot of time and energy on that task.” The online poker service provider is free to collect interest accrued on this reserve fund.

Another piece of good news for players who play poker professionally is that there is a proposal to permit the online poker company to use a player for purposes of marketing.

The issue of bots attempting to take unfair advantage of online poker sites was also seriously discussed at a hearing held on Capitol Hill. Kurt Eggert, an expert on consumer protection, said that controlling bots at online poker sites is extremely difficult. One of the proposed amendments states that Nevada-based online poker gaming operators must do everything reasonable to ensure that the games are played between human players only, and not bots. The word “reasonable” is a new addition.

Burnett said: “I would hope that all operators would try to curtail players gaining an unfair advantage, and to especially stop any cheating activities. I think the term ‘reasonably’ is simply there so that the Board and Commission can impose a certain standard of care on them in that regard.”

The proposed amendments will be discussed at public hearings, scheduled for Nov 3 Thursday and Nov 17 Thursday.

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