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Lowering Nevada gambling Appears Thwarted

A push to change Nevada's gambling age from 21 to 18 seemed all but quashed yesterday after leading Democrats in the Legislature unanimously said they were against. An aide also said Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons would not support it either.

Steven Horsford, Senate Majority Leader, and Barbara Buckley, Assembly Speaker, heavily criticized the idea on Wednesday after Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said at a conference last week that he’d take the proposal to the state Legislature.

Neilander said he had no leaning in the idea, but would forward it to the 2009 Legislature. Later, Neilander claimed that lowering the gambling age would be difficult to enforce.

Gibbons spokesman Ben Kieckhefer said the suggestion was unexpected, and that the governor couldn’t back it.

Horsford spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and said he’d oppose changing the gambling age, and said that there wasn’t much support for the initiative.

"I don't think there is a lot of appetite to consider it at this point," he said.

Buckley also said she didn't have a "strong interest" in the proposal as well.

"Of course, there is the argument that if you can vote or go to war at 18, you should be allowed to gamble," she commented.

Pushing it through as a legitimate idea was the fact that 15 states and several Indian casinos have the legal age to gamble set at 18, and most states with lotteries let 18 year olds participate.

Horsford continued that he understood the reasoning of pushing the Nevada case through, with legislators and Gibbons looking for other ways to raise money or cut spending due to a spiralling economy.

On Wednesday, the state Gaming Control Board claimed that casino revenues dropped 5.4 percent in September and that the state has documented a 10.9-percent decline in casino tax revenues so far this fiscal year, compared to the same period in 2007.
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