Nevada looks to legalize

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada’s gaming regulators have been warned of the numerous hazards in trying to monitor Internet gambling activity if becomes legal in the state.

Marc McDermott, chief of the electronics division for the Gaming Control Board, said Thursday that there are so many ways to make online bets that stating such bets are secure is “just a guess to make people happy for the most part.”

Nevada officials are devising regulations that would make it the first state to start legalized Internet gambling – provided there’s no conflict with the Justice Department or Congress.

A major concern of Nevada authorities is that online gambling occur only in jurisdictions where it’s approved, but McDermott said, “There’s no way to be absolutely certain where a person is on the Internet.”

Nevada-based Control Board staffers testing security of existing Internet gambling, largely conducted offshore because of the U.S. ban, easily made it look like they were making online contacts from Canada, he said.

McDermott also said one of the major problems with Internet gambling is maintaining adequate internal controls to keep out hackers or block in-house cheating.

He said a recent scam in England cost an Internet gambling operation about $1.6 million before a rigged online blackjack game was spotted.

Hackers trying to get into online casinos’ computers can “basically run amok in your computer” with e-mail viruses and other techniques, he said.