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Beyond the Slot Machine: New Bill Directs Nevada’s Gaming Regulators to Craft Regulations to Allow “Hybrid” Games

Nevada is the world’s preeminent gaming destination. Not by chance, but by being a leader in gaming and entertainment innovations. Nevada was the first state in the nation to legalize gaming in 1931, the first to introduce the world to the “casino-resort” with the Mirage in 1989, and, more recently, the first state to license and regulate Internet gaming. Now Nevada legislators have given regulators the green light to allow for the state to take a leadership position in the new world of “hybrid” games.

What is a “hybrid” game? For those who follow gaming law, you know there are two types of games, skill games and games of chance. Then there are those games that fall somewhere on the spectrum between “pure skill” games and “pure chance” games. A “hybrid” game would be one where, by definition, the outcome will be determined by a combination of skill and chance – and possibly other factors (or “identifiers”), including frequency of play, use of other casino services or amenities, and use in combination with other technologies, such as social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

The idea is to draw in a new generation of customers who relate to electronic skill-based game play and would be drawn to features such as bonus rounds that reward the skill of a player, integration of the games with their social media accounts, interactive networked game play, and the use of electronic commerce transactions.

Senate Bill 9 calls for the Nevada Gaming Commission to draft regulations allowing the development of such technology for gaming devices. The bill includes a policy directive and enhanced rulemaking authority to make it clear that Nevada’s gaming regulators have the authority to both develop technical standards for such hybrid games and to allow incorporation of other technologies into gaming devices.

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About this Author

Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher, Dickinson Wright, Las Vegas, Gaming Lawyer

Ms. Lowenhar-Fisher is a leading Nevada gaming attorney who counsels many of the world’s premier gaming companies on regulatory issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, reorganizations and financings.  She has extensive experience advising clients on issues related to Internet gaming, social gaming, fantasy sports, liquor licensing, sweepstakes, contests, and promotions. She regularly represents individuals and businesses before regulatory agencies, including the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, the...

Jennifer J. Gaynor, Dickinson Wright, Carson City, Gaming Attorney

Jennifer Gaynor represents clients before the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nevada. She also practices before various professional and licensing boards and state and local tax authorities, and represents clients on matters involving First Amendment law, public records and open meeting law, gaming law and regulatory agency actions.

Professional Involvement

  • Nevada State Chair, CARE

  • Board Member, Nevada Preservation Foundation

  • Member, CLE Committee, State Bar of Nevada

  • Member, Howard D. McKibben Inn of Court 

Gregory R. Gemignani, Dickinson Wright, Intellectual Property Lawyer

Greg Gemignani's practice focuses primarily on intellectual property law, gaming law, technology law, internet law, online gaming law, and online promotions law. He has represented many clients ranging from the largest casino companies to start-up internet ventures.

Professional Involvement

  • Member, International Masters of Gaming Law

  • Member, International Association of Gaming Advisors

  • Member, Technology Business Alliance of Nevada