With marijuana business presenting itself as a major new industry for recreational users in the US, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval's committee wants to know what the effects of recreational marijuana on the gambling industry is, and more specifically how casinos might deal with the pot business while not running afoul of federal law.
Whilst both marijuana and gambling in the therefore foreseen facilities would both be legal, combining the two could be considered racketeering under federal regulations. According to some lawyers, even allegations of money laundering could be brought against any casino that tries to make money from organising events for recreational marijuana users in a casino.
In the first of a series of policy discussions on the subject over the summer, the Nevada Gaming Commission had concluded that as long as marijuana consumption and possession is viewed as a felony by federal authorities, it could have no place in Nevada casinos. Their view was that the reputation of the gaming industry is at stake and there needs to be a clear separation.
Commission Chairman Mr Tony Alamo: “On one hand you have the gaming industry and on the other hand you have the marijuana industry. The two shall not meet.”
However, Governor Sandoval claims that his 12-member committee looking into the same issue might have committee recommendations for possible regulations by February.
The Nevada Gaming commission meanwhile continues to discourage their licensees from ever becoming involved with the marijuana business as long as any legal troubles could arise.
State Gaming Control Board member Mr Terry Johnson: “We’ve got some work to do in terms of distilling what is going to be the policy and how it should be manifested. Is it going to be sufficient to make policy-type pronouncements (in public meetings), or is it going to be necessary to adopt rules that put everyone on notice as to what the requirements and expectations are?”