All in One Guide to Gambling in Nevada
When most people think of Nevada, they envision Las Vegas and the state's massive casino empire.
The Silver State features over 320 casinos, meaning you're never far from a legal casino, poker room, or sportsbook.
Given that Nevada has the most casinos of any state, it's little surprise that they were the first to legalize and regulate online gaming. But the catch is that their Internet gaming market only features one game.
What is this game? And what do you need to know about gambling online here?
We'll answer these questions and other important topics on Nevada's internet gambling market next.
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Online Gambling and Nevada Law
In December 2011, the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the framework for legal online poker.
The goal was to become the first state with regulated online gaming, and Nevada accomplished this goal in February, 2013 when the State House and Senate approved the matter.
Ultimate Poker a venture backed by Station Casinos quickly launched in April, 2013. This not only made Ultimate Poker the first legal gaming site in Nevada, but also the first in U.S. history.
Unfortunately, the Silver State's poker market didn't take off as expected, and Ultimate Poker shut down in November 2014, citing low revenue.
Since then, more operators have launched in Nevada, but the overall result has been underwhelming for the Silver State's poker market.
According to a USA Today report, the state's poker sites only made $10.2 million in combined revenue from May, 2013 to April, 2014.
In February 2014, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed an interstate online poker compact to help their iGaming market. The pact, which took effect in March 2015, sees Delaware and Nevada share poker player pools to help with liquidity.
Both Nevada and Delaware have small populations (3.88m combined), so the pact hasn't transformed their network into a poker metropolis. But sharing liquidity has helped create larger tournaments and more cash games between the two states.
Do I Have to Live in Nevada to Play Online Poker?
No. You just need to be within state lines, and have a valid account at one of Nevada's poker sites. This allows Vegas, Reno and Laughlin visitors to play online poker from their hotel rooms or anywhere else.
Nevada like other regulated states in the U.S. has geolocation software that picks up your mobile device or computer when you're within Nevada's borders.
From here, you need to visit one of the state's approved online poker sites, create an account and deposit. Keep in mind that you must be 21 years old to create an account and make a deposit.
Can You Play Online Casino Games in Nevada?
No. Poker is the only form of online gaming offered in the state.
The good news is that this gives you the chance to play poker variations like Texas hold'em, Omaha and 7-card stud. The bad news is that you miss out on online slots, video poker and table games.
When Nevada was in the initial stages of launching internet gaming, they chose to limit their market to online poker, but the state has debated over expanding their iGaming industry.
According to a May 2016 article from OnlinePokerReport, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee was enthused about adding internet casino games to the mix.
Nothing has happened on this front since the 2016 discussion.
Why Doesn't Nevada Offer Online Casino Games?
Some land-based casino companies, like Caesars, embrace Internet gaming and feel that it supplements their brick-and-mortar revenue.
Other companies like Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp., fear that iGaming will cannibalize land-based casinos.
Given the latter group, the Nevada Gaming Control Board started small with an online poker market.
It's possible that they would've expanded to online casinos and/or sportsbooks by now if poker had taken off, but the iPoker market has been relatively insignificant so far, making a harder case for legalizing internet casino games, too.
Do Offshore Casinos Operate in Nevada?
No, we don't know of a single offshore casino or sportsbook operating in the Silver State.
As you may know, offshore casinos unlicensed casinos located outside the U.S. operate throughout much of America. They avoid Nevada because they have a regulated gaming market.
The Battle Born State takes their gaming very seriously, and will pursue legal action if necessary to protect it.
One example can be seen with Bryan Micon, who operated the online poker room SealsWithClubs. Nevada authorities raided Micon's home and arrested him for operating an illegal poker site in Nevada.
Licensed in Antigua & Barbuda, SealsWithClubs accepts Bitcoin deposits and serves U.S. residents. Given that Micon was living in Las Vegas, he made an easy arrest target to send a message to offshore operators.
What are Nevada's Online Gambling Laws?
As we've covered, Nevada will do what they must to protect their regulated iGaming operation. But what legal language bars offshore operators from serving Nevadans?
Nevada Revised Statue 463.016425 (1) explains this as follows:
"'Interactive gaming' means the conduct of gambling games through the use of communications technology that allows a person, utilizing money, checks, electronic checks, electronic transfers of money, credit cards, debit cards or any other instrumentality, to transmit to a computer information to assist in the placing of a bet or wager and corresponding information related to the display of the game, game outcomes or other similar information. The term does not include the operation of a race book or sports pool that uses communications technology approved by the board pursuant to regulations adopted by the commission to accept wagers originating within this state for races or sporting events."
NRS 463.016425 (2) goes on to explain that using computer data networks and other means to offer gaming is illegal:
"As used in this section, "communications technology" means any method used and the components employed by an establishment to facilitate the transmission of information, including, without limitation, transmission and reception by systems based on wire, cable, radio, microwave, light, optics or computer data networks, including, without limitation, the Internet and intranets."
Will I be Arrested for Playing at Offshore Casinos?
It's hard to say because this issue has yet to surface.
As discussed above, offshore casinos and poker rooms don't operate in Nevada due to the laws and regulated market. This makes it hard for anybody to gamble at offshore casinos when in the Silver State.
But whether or not Nevada would arrest one of their own residents for gambling online makes for an interesting subject.
If such an event did arise, Nevada could pursue a case based on NRS 463.01473, which discuses electronic gambling money transfers:
"'Electronic transfer of money' means any transfer of money, other than a transaction initiated by a check, draft or other similar instrument, that is initiated through an electronic terminal, telephone, computer or magnetic tape for the purpose of ordering, instructing or authorizing a financial institution or person holding an account on behalf of another to debit or credit an account."
How do I Choose the Best Poker Site in Nevada?
The tough thing about Nevada's internet poker market is that it's very limited. Nevertheless, it's still worth discussing a few factors that you should consider when selecting a poker site in the Silver State:
- Player Pool (Liquidity)
- Signup Bonus
- Tournament Guarantees
- Customer Support
- Check Out Reviews
If you like big poker tournaments and full cash-game tables, then you want the highest liquidity possible. Check PokerScout.com to see what Nevada poker sites feature the highest traffic.
How much free money do you stand to earn by signing up and depositing at a certain poker room? What requirements do you need to meet to unlock your money? These are important questions to ask yourself when reviewing a poker room's signup offer.
It's always nice when poker sites continue offering rewards and bonuses long past your signup bonus.
If you like playing in online poker tournaments, then it's important that you find good weekly/monthly guarantees.
The longer you play at a poker room, the higher the chances are that you'll have questions and issues arise. In these cases, it's great dealing with knowledgeable customer service that treats you like an actual person.
While it's good to do your own research on internet poker sites, you can also learn a lot by checking out reviews. These are especially helpful when they're accompanied by customer complaints so you can see if a poker room has any major issues.
The good thing about Nevada's regulated gaming market is that they have stringent licensing requirements. Even still, it's good to investigate a poker room's reputability before depositing with them.
Breaking down what exactly is or isn't legal in Nevada. Gambling Venues in Nevada
Where to gamble in the state of Nevada. The History of Gaming Laws in Nevada
A brief history of Nevada laws regarding gambling. Nevada Gambling FAQs
A list of questions asked about gambling in Nevada Additional Information
Still have questions? Check out these links. The Future of Gambling in Nevada
What does the future of gambling look like in Nevada?
More Gambling Laws in Nevada
Casino Gambling: Legal
Nevada is known for its casino gambling above all. The state's casinos and accompanying attractions are the reasons why Las Vegas draws over 40 million tourists every year.
Besides Vegas, Carson City, Laughlin and the Reno-Tahoe area also casino hubs. You can find slot machines and video poker throughout many bars, gas stations, restaurants and truck stops throughout the state.
Boulder City located 30 minutes from Vegas is the only large town that bans gambling in the state. This was done in the early 1900s to protect Hoover Dam workers from losing their money through casino games.
Other than this exception, you'll find casinos and other forms of gaming all throughout Nevada.
Charitable Gaming: Legal
When you have numerous casinos everywhere, charity gambling loses its appeal.
Nevertheless, the Silver State allows approved groups to offer charity gaming, including civic, fraternal, humanitarian, patriotic and religious organizations.
If licensed, these groups can offer bingo, casino nights, lottery games and raffles.
Nevada has the reputation as a wide open gambler's paradise where anything and everything is legal, but what's interesting is that they don't have a legal lottery.
This makes them one of only five states without a lottery, including Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii and Utah.
Efforts have been made to add a legal lottery to the Silver State, but Nevada continues to stay committed to its casino market rather than worrying about a lottery, too.
Poker Rooms: Legal
Given that they have more casinos than any other U.S. city, it's little surprise that Las Vegas has the most poker tables, too, at 500. Nevada as a whole has more than 720 poker tables.
This state is an international poker destination, thanks to high-roller rooms like Bobby's Room (Bellagio) and the Ivey Room (Aria). Vegas is also home to the World Series of Poker, which draws over 100,000 tournament participants every year.
Nevada has several racetracks, but none of them are active. The only live racing happens sporadically at the state fairgrounds.
You can also find simulcast facilities at various casinos in Nevada.
Social Gaming: Legal
As stated by NRS 461.0152, social gambling is legal in Nevada:
"[Gambling] does not include games played with cards in private homes or residences in which no person makes money for operating the game."
This means that you're fine to hold private poker games and other social gaming functions, provided that the host doesn't collect rake or install a house edge.
Sports Betting: Legal
Nevada has been offering legal sports betting for decades, and they were one of four states grandfathered into the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992.
But unlike Delaware, Montana and Oregon, the Silver State is the only place that offers full-service sportsbooks. The other three are limited to fantasy sports-style and/or parlays.
This allows Nevada visitors to enjoy opulent sportsbooks with a wide range of lines, including Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Red Rock Resort, Westgate and the Wynn.
Gambling Venues in Nevada
The best thing about gambling in Nevada is that you have access to countless casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks.
As mentioned in the introduction, the Battle Born State is home to over 320 commercial casinos. This is more than any other state, and it gives you numerous gambling options within Nevada's 110,567 square miles.
The most-popular area to visit is the Vega Strip-a 4-mile-long stretch that features over 40 casinos including some of the biggest and most-lavish the world has to offer.
Other popular casino areas include downtown Vegas and North Las Vegas. The area that you spend the most time in will depend on what you're looking for.
The Strip is generally more expensive and has higher house edges for games. North Vegas is great for players who want an inexpensive stay and lower house edges. Downtown Vegas not only offers beatable house edges, but also the Freemont Street Experience.
Of course, you can also enjoy several other great gaming towns in Nevada. We've listed some casinos from each of Nevada's major gaming destinations below:
1-Alamo Casino Petro TA
6595 N Hollywood Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115
2-Alamo Casino Las Vegas TA
8050 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89139
3-Alamo Casino Sparks Petro
1950 E Greg St, Sparks, NV 89431
4-Aliante Casino Hotel Spa
7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, NV 89084
5-Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas
3730 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
6-Arizona Charlies Boulder
4575 Boulder Hwy, Las Vegas, NV 89121
7-Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
3800 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502
8-Avi Resort & Casino
10000 Aha Macav Pkwy, Laughlin, NV 89029
9-Bally's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
3645 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
10-Bellagio Las Vegas
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
11-Big Dogs Draft House
4543 N Rancho Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89108
12-Binion's Gambling Hall
128 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
5650 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
14-Cactus Jack's Casino
420 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
15-Caesars Palace Casino
3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
16-Carson Nugget Hotel and Casino
800 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
17-Circus Circus Reno
500 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89503
18-Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
19-Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
206 N 3rd St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
20-El Cortez Hotel & Casino
600 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
21-Excalibur Resort Casino
3850 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
22-Fiesta Henderson Hotel & Casino
777 W Lake Mead Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89015
23-Golden Nugget Las Vegas
129 Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV 89101
24-Green Valley Ranch
2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89052
25-Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 50 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449
26-Harrah's Las Vegas
3475 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
27-Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino
300 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102
28-Luxor Casino Las Vegas
3900 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
29-Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
30-MGM Grand Resort Casino
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
31-Palms Casino Resort
4321 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103
32-Paris Resort Casino
3655 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
33-Peppermill Hotel & Casino Reno
2707 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502
34-Plaza Hotel & Casino
1 S Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
35-Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
11011 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89135
36-Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103
37-Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Las Vegas
5111 Boulder Hwy, Las Vegas, NV 89122
38-Silver Legacy Resort Casino
407 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501
1380 W Newlands Dr, Fernley, NV 89408
40-South Point Casino and Hotel
9777 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89183
41-Sunset Station Hotel & Casino
1301 W Sunset Rd, Henderson, NV 89014
42-The D Las Vegas
301 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
43-Tropicana Las Vegas
3801 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
44-Venetian Las Vegas
3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
45-Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
3000 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
46-Wynn Encore Las Vegas
3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
History of Gambling in Nevada
Nevada lays claim to two major milestones in the gambling world. They were the first state to legalize casinos in 1931, and the first to regulate Internet gaming in 2013.
That said, it's no surprise that the Silver State has a fascinating gambling history that begins with gold and silver prospectors in the mid-1800s.
Like many mining areas, Nevada was filled with gambling. But this changed when Abraham Lincoln appointed James Nye as the Nevada Territory Governor.
Nye took a stand against gambling pushing to get the activity banned and imposing stiff penalties on anybody who violated the new laws.
Nevada was ratified as a state in 1864, and the new legislature pushed for legal gambling. These efforts failed, but the compromise was that gambling penalties were reduced to almost nothing.
In 1909, the Progressive Movement saw gaming banned throughout the state again.
In 1931, Nevada Assemblyman Phil Tobin introduced Assembly Bill 98, which made Nevada the first state to legalize casino gaming.
By the 1940s, the Las Vegas Strip began development. The El Rancho Vegas became the first official casino to open on the Vegas Strip in 1941.
AnotherStrip milestone is when mobster "Bugsy" Siegel opened the Fabulous Flamingo in 1946. The lavish Flamingo instantly became a hit, and it earned Siegel the reputation of having supposedly invented the Vegas Strip.
Other venues that raised the bar for casino resorts include the Golden Nugget, Harrah's Club and Wagon Wheel.
Below you can see an expanded list of major milestones in Nevada's gaming market:
Territory Governor James Nye encourages Nevada to ban gambling and impose harsh penalties.
Progressive Movement results in gambling being banned.
Boulder Club, Exchange Club, Las Vegas Club, and Northern Club receive Nevada's first four casinos licenses.
El Rancho Vegas becomes first resort on the Vegas Strip.
State legislature creates Gaming Control Board
Nevada gaming revenue reaches a $6 billion milestone.
Great American Recession hits; forces Vegas casinos to reinvent themselves as all-around entertainment destinations.
Ultimate Poker becomes first legal, regulated gaming site in U.S. history.
Delaware and Nevada begin sharing online poker player pools.
New state legislature pushes for legal gambling; their efforts fail, but gaming penalties are reduced.
Assembly Bill 98 is approved, thus legalizing casino gaming and sports betting.
Bugsy Siegel opens Fabulous Flamingo on the Strip.
Nevada Gaming Commission created.
Caesar's Palace opens on the Vegas Strip.
Nevada gaming revenue hits a record $10 billion.
Nevada Gaming Control approves Internet poker legislation.
Gov. Sandoval and Gov. Markell sign interstate online poker compact between Nevada and Delaware.
Nevada Gambling FAQ
As we covered earlier, the Silver State has a regulated online poker market. This means that licensed poker sites are your only iGaming options in Nevada.
Some players still have questions that extend beyond just legal forms of online gaming. That said, let's discuss a few FAQs regarding Nevada's iGaming market.
In 2016, Nevada A.G. Adam Laxalt joined a campaign to ban internet gaming. According to PJ Media, Laxalt even asked Vice President Mike Pence to push for a Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA), which would ban iGaming on a federal level.
Earlier we covered how Las Vegas Sands billionaire, Sheldon Adelson fears that iGaming will cannibalize brick-and-mortar casinos. He's the primary person behind RAWA and the effort to ban Internet gaming.
Adelson donates to many politicians and government officials, plus he has numerous connections. This means that Laxalt is likely connected to Adelson in some way, which is the only thing that makes sense.
Considering that Las Vegas draw tens of millions of visitors every year, you'd think that Internet poker would have a bigger draw.
But according to PokerScout, the Nevada/Delaware online poker network only ranks 29th in terms of worldwide traffic with an hourly average of 240 cash game players.
The biggest reason why Nevada's iPoker market doesn't draw much traffic is because of the state's small population.
The Silver State only has 2.891 million people, which is less than 1% of the total U.S. population. Even when Delaware's population (945.9k) is factored into the equation, this still doesn't give Nevada a significant player base.
As for the tourism, this helps boost the traffic numbers somewhat. This is especially the case during the WSOP, which brings over 100,000 poker players to Vegas.
But it's clear that without more liquidity, Nevada isn't a major player in the online poker world.
To be fair, Nevada's Internet poker traffic is better than it should be for a state this size. Vegas, tourism and WSOP marketing help tremendously in this regard.
The market's performance since the 2013 launch has fallen well short of revenue projections. This begs the question of whether the state's Internet poker traffic will increase any time soon.
Yes, traffic should increase as more states regulate online gaming and share liquidity.
Besides Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey is America's only other place with legal Internet poker, and they haven't shared players because they don't see the upside in joining two much-smaller states.
Other places will regulate the game over time and join the Delaware/Nevada network. When this happens, you can expect the Silver State's poker market to naturally increase in terms of both players and revenue.
No. The Nevada Attorney's Office wrote a document in 2015 explaining why daily fantasy sports (DFS) fall under illegal gambling. Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel were subsequently forced out of the market.
Nevada did issue a license to a site called USFantasy, which offers games similar to DFS.
USFantasy's games feature a limit salary cap, and you pick players whom you think will rank highest in their respective position.
This is not the same as what DraftKings and FanDuel offer, where the goal is to score the most overall points. Even still, USFantasy is close enough to fantasy sports gambling that we're not sure why they receive an exception.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) share joint responsibilities in regulating the state's gambling activities.
Few gaming authorities throughout the world wield as much power as the NGCB. They have gained a lot of clout ever since being created in 1955.
Below you can find out more about the roles of the NGCB and NGC:
The NGCB handles most of Nevada's gaming regulation, including enforcing laws, deciding regulations and reviewing licenses. They also produce helpful revenue on the Silver State's gaming industry. The Gaming Control Board's website is very comprehensive and will answer any Nevada gambling questions you have.
This 5-member panel acts on recommendations from the NCGB when distributing licenses, but the NGC has the final say on who does and doesn't get licensed in Nevada. This group also decides disciplinary actions against operators, normally using recommendations from the Board.
The Future & Your Views
Four things can improve Nevada's online gaming market moving forward:
- Legalizing online casino games.
- Legalizing online sportsbooks.
- Regulating regular DFS (not just USFantasy).
- Sharing online poker liquidity with more states.
Our first choice is for the Silver State to add Internet casino games to the mix. The other three factors we've mentioned are secondary, although they can help too.
Unfortunately, Adelson and a few other land-based casinos exist as roadblocks to improving the market. After all, some are convinced that iGaming will harm Nevada's casino industry more than it'll help.
We're sure that there's some overlap when it comes to land-based and online casino players, but overall, the Battle Ready State is missing out on a significant chunk of revenue by not diversifying their online gaming.
Hopefully attitudes change in Nevada, and they can move beyond just a small Internet poker operation.