By Chris Sieroty
Gambling remains one of the top issues for Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as he prepares to enter his second week of a trade mission to Australia.
Sandoval’s trade mission also includes talks on mining and water technology, but gambling, and especially an online poker agreement, is being discussed among the trade delegation and government officials.
Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, is along for the two-week trip with stops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Other members of the Nevada delegation with ties to gaming and tourism include, Claudia Vecchio, director of the state department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Alma Derricks, vice president of sales and marketing with Cirque du Soleil; Adrian Matanza, LVCVA’s senior director of community relations and public affairs; and Jack McNeill, senior vice president global government affairs with Scientific Games.
Last year, Australia was Nevada’s 10th largest trading partner with exports totaling $149m. Gaming equipment accounted for $33m of the state’s export total to Australia.
“Australia’s economic bedrock rests on mining, much like Nevada’s, and tourism and gaming drive economic growth, just as they do in our state,” Sandoval said before arriving on Monday in Australia.
Additionally, Sandoval said, both Nevada and Australia are looking to lead in water technologies and unmanned systems.
Away from the trade talks, there are already gaming strong business ties between Nevada and Australia.
In 2012, Bally Technologies formed a partnership with Australian gaming company Aristocrat Technologies over online gambling services in the U.S.
Aristocrat expanded further in the U.S. gaming market in 2014 with its $1.3bn purchase of Video Gaming Technologies (VGT). VGT is one of the largest developers and distributors of gaming machines, especially Class II machines for tribal bingo-based gaming.
Sandoval has explored opportunities to expand Nevada’s reach in terms of online poker, signing a modest multistate agreement with Delaware in February 2014.
The governor has said he would consider a multistate agreement with New Jersey and California, should the Golden State legalize online poker. New Jersey offers legal online casino games other than poker.
Chris Sieroty is U.S. Editor with GamblingCompliance in Washington, D.C.