Mark Lipparelli, the recently departed chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, reminded attendees at the iGaming Congress here that Nevada is positioned to move beyond online poker as states elsewhere in the country expand the definition what constitutes legal online gaming.

“One thing that often gets mentioned about Nevada is that it will only offer online poker; actually, Nevada’s law contemplates all forms of gaming beyond poker,” said Lipparelli, who was careful to state his comments were his and his alone, noting that that he was speaking as a former chairman, but that he had made the same comments as chairman. “It’s not just a poker-only market. The rule-making for other forms of gaming online would have to take place before our Gaming Commission, but no further statutory language needs to be passed. The primary emphasis of focusing on poker in Nevada was respecting what at the time was momentum at the federal level regarding online poker and the likelihood that we might see some kind of passage of federal legislation that would probably limit online gaming to poker only. To the extent things remain the way they are and states begin passing their own laws allowing for different forms of online gaming, which has already started, for example in Minnesota. My sense is that Nevada and many other states will move toward different forms of gaming.”

Lipparelli sees as many of five states legalizing online gaming in the next 12 to 18 months, and, looking out four years, 10 or 15 states legalizing some form of Web wagering. “There’s very little doubt in my mind that if the federal legislation doesn’t move, and it certainly seems to be jammed up now, that you will see passage in a number of states and we’ll see a state-to-state rollout.”

Lipparelli also said that “seven or eight” licenses had been issued by Nevada to operators, manufacturers and service providers. The next step in that process will likely be manufacturers with interactive systems submitting their technology to independent test labs that will provide results to the state’s Technology Division for approval. The operators themselves will have to submit a plan of operation to the Board and those will be the final couple of steps for someone to operate an online system in Nevada, which could happen late this year or in the first quarter of next year.

In addition, at last check there were still an additional 35 applications that were in the Board’s queue; Lipparelli said the processing of these applications will take place over the next six or seven months.