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Guide: Online Gambling in Nevada

Nevada has always led the way among USA’s online betting legislation. It will come as little surprise to any gambler that Nevada was the first of the states to legalize gambling, doing so in 1931. They also regulated online poker games in 2013.

Las Vegas is synonymous for gambling, and that would mean the visitors would think that the state is liberal towards the activity, however, it isn’t. They have some of the strictest licensing laws in the country, and with those come heavy punishments and penalties. These laws ensure that the most prosperous gambling city in the world can prosper.

The gaming bill of 1931 allowed gambling to really take off and at the same time allowed for the Mafia to move into the desert to begin building their empire that would later become Las Vegas.

However, this wasn’t the first time that a gaming bill was legalized, for that, you have to travel back to 1865 where a law was passed that allowed for residents to play chance games. The bill also saw a rise in the number of people involved in the underground gambling world, as penalties for game organizers were reduced.

The 1865 gaming bill lasted until the early 1900s, when the introduction of Prohibition was followed by the 1909 law that made placing bets strictly against the law. However, despite this ban, the underground gambling world thrived and continued to operate under the control of the mob.

Eventually, due to public encouragement, the 1931 law allowed for gambling to resume, this time the government was sure to get a cut from the business. The ‘Turf-Clubs’ opened in 1949 and saw the tax of the sports bets capped high until it was eventually cut to 0.25%. The introduction of this on the sports betting markets enabled the city to thrive on all forms of gambling, as it was the latest addition to their empire which already accounted for casino gambling and poker tables.

Nowadays the tax money generated from sports books and casinos makes up for over half of the state’s income, and has been a leading beacon in the battle to license online poker. In 2014, the state signed an agreement with the state of Delaware to “share” players across their poker sites available online.

Due to the money that is generated by the state, any person convicted of a crime involving gambling are excluded from casinos in the state. These are tracked in the world-famous Nevada Black Book.

While most forms of gambling are perfectly legal, entering the lottery is not. This is because establishing a lottery has yet to be approved: there are currently two separate statewide referendums to make the lottery legal.

Gambling in Nevada: What’s Legal?

  • Year Nevada regulated offline and online gambling: Offline casino gaming was made legal in 1931, while sports betting followed in 1948. Although it would be a further year until horse racing gambling was legalized. Online sports betting was first allowed in 2010, while the ability to use online casinos was made legal in 2013.
  • Nevada gambling age: 21
  • Legal casino games in Nevada: Online Poker and Sportsbooks
  • Number of commercial casinos: 324
  • Number of tribal casinos: 2

Although Nevada now allows for a range of types of betting, it’s still casino gambling that makes for the most significant income to the state. Nevada boasts 326 casinos in total, with over 100 of those housed in Las Vegas, while many of these are also hotels.

The legal age for most of the casino games is 21. However, charity betting is legal, and for this, the player must be at least 18-years-old. This is only where the player is playing for educational, fraternal, humanitarian or religious groups and raising funds for a good cause. This can be used on bingo, raffles and casinos nights, but all proceeds must go to the charity. If they do not, then it is classed a felony, and the accused could spend up to five years in prison.

Travelers who go to Nevada are in constant amazement that they can enjoy slot machines virtually anywhere in the state, including bars, airports and gas stations. The only exception to this rule is a small town called Boulder City. Here the Hoover Dam workers outlawed gambling to ensure the workers’ income.

As is the case virtually everywhere on the planet, smoking in illegal public places, however in Nevada, this law does not include businesses that restrict minors. Should under 21’s not be allowed to enter an establishment then gamblers can smoke freely. Another weird rule is that the state requires at least 30 seats in a bar for the establishment to be classed as a land casino.

The law ensures that there is a full slate of casino games on offer, with no restrictions. Casinos can also submit new games which have to be approved and used for a 60-day test period before being allowed permanently. Furthermore, casinos must hold an unrestricted gaming license to offer table and sports book options.

Sports betting has been legal in Nevada since 1949, and today’s low tax rate ensures that it remains a popular choice among gamblers. Nevada is only one of four states that sports betting is legal. The only other state that allows wagers on sport is Delaware, but they are only limited to the NFL. The sports books in Nevada handle over $4 billion in annual bets, with winnings in the region of $210 million of this amount.

Few would expect that Nevada would block many types of betting, but one type that is against the law is dog racing. The other that isn’t legalized is the lottery. There are only five states that don’t allow this type of gambling, the others are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii and Utah. There have been many attempts to eradicate this, but the casino industry has always blocked any attempt.

As mentioned previously, dog racing is outlawed in Nevada, but horse racing betting is perfectly legal. There aren’t any active race tracks in the state, but they have live streams of all meetings available in most casinos.

Social gaming is less clear, but the gambling definition in NRS 461.0152 states: “Gambling does not include games played with cards in private homes or residences in which no person makes money for operating the game.” It remains a sticking point for many in Nevada, but the crucial part of the statement is that as long as the host doesn’t make a profit, or provide food or drink then it is legal in the eyes of the law.

Nevada does also feature two tribal gaming casinos, in the form of the Snow Mountain Smoke Shop and the Avi Resort. Both of these establishments are based on native reservations which means they are tax-free. However, due to the popularity of the established casinos such as those on the Strip of Las Vegas, these casinos are not very popular.

Online Poker in Nevada is Legal

The Nevada Gaming Control Board first approved the use of online poker in December 2011, with the goal to be the first state to allow regulated online gaming. This was a success, and they achieved the feat in February 2013.

While poker is allowed, it isn’t the same regulation for all forms of online poker. Casino games are still not allowed in Nevada. The most popular version of online poker in Nevada is Ultimate Poker, which was packed by Station Casinos shortly after launching in April 2013. This was the first online poker game available in the history of the USA, not only Nevada.

However, due to the lack of revenue that was made by the company, the Silver State poker market eventually shut down a year later in November 2014. The online poker website made $10.2 million in revenue between May 2013 and April 2014.

Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval signed a pact which sees Delaware and Nevada share their poker player pools in February 2014. Since both the states are relatively small in population—with only 3.88 million combined—their poker metropolis hasn’t precisely exploded as they first hoped it would. But the sharing of the liquidity enables for larger tournaments and bigger cash games between the two states.

While online casinos aren’t allowed, this does open up players to the opportunity to player variations of poker games such as Omaha and Texas hold’em. The discussion to introduce online casino games has been up for debate ever since the original online gaming law was passed, but thus far that hasn’t materialized.

Some of the famous casinos based on the Strip, such as Caesars, have embraced the world of online gaming and feel that it can ensure that they have an edge over their rivals. However, others, like Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp, have openly denounced the online casino world and feel that it will only damage the popularity of land-based casinos.

Online Sports Betting in Nevada is Legal

The standing in Nevada regarding online sports betting is more straightforward. The state has allowed sports betting on all sports—excluding dog racing—since the passing of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992. However, unlike the other founding fathers of this pact, Nevada offers full-service sports books. Montana, Oregon and Delaware are limited to fantasy sports.

Nevada’s standing regarding fantasy sports has been a chequered one. In October 2015, their stance pushed DraftKings and Fan Duel out of the state, but they managed to fine-tune the rulings and ensure that daily fantasy sports aren’t illegal. The company would need to require a license to operate in Nevada, much like all forms of gaming in the state.

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in Nevada

Of course, picking the perfect online casino is a tricky mission, and gamblers should take into account all the aspects they are looking for. Should the player be looking for the best online casinos, then they probably won’t be choosing a bookmaker that specializes in sports betting. Sports books do have good casinos nowadays as they know the importance of adding that for their customers, however, they are still primarily a sports book.

It is vital to claim welcome bonuses and promotions, but why? The simple answer is that these free bonuses or spins are an easy way for you to win real money from the get-go. It is also important to remember that to cash out on any bonus, you will first need to meet the requirements that are attached to that bonus.

It is highly advised for you to first go through the full terms and conditions on any welcome bonus that catches your eye, this would avoid the ultimate disappointment of opening an account and depositing money only to find out then that you aren’t eligible for the bonus. The one thing to keep an eye out for is the game that you must play to retrieve the bonus. Most bookmakers won’t allow free spins to be used on their games with the highest payout. You should carefully read what games or slots are included in offers.

Another critical factor that needs to be taken into account is customer support. Should anything go wrong and you need instant help this is where they come in. They can help to reset customers’ information so they can access their account and also provide insight with blocked accounts and welcome offers. There is often an extensive selection of FAQs on bookmakers’ websites to help with any concerns. The best companies cover every base, ranging from assistance in signing up to forgetting your password. The addition of the live chat feature has been the latest progression for online casinos, and they can help with anything that needs immediate attention.

Most Nevada online casinos also supply a contact email for any other questions. They are often available 24 hours a day, however, it may take up to 24 hours for a response.

The Bottom Line on Nevada Online Gambling

Nevada has long been the leading light in terms of legislation within the United States when it comes to gambling. While strict rules on laws regarding unlicensed operations have had a part of their accelerated growth, it is also the accessibility and their role in the world of online casinos that have increased customer satisfaction and their continued financial gains through the new world of online betting.

Nevada is possibly setting themselves up to be the hub for a more extensive network of states when it comes to gambling. The revenues that are made through gaming and jobs that are created through this show that betting is more than just a hobby here, the government has boosted the economy, and it thrives. Many states will continue to look at Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas, and consider whether the legalization of legislation would also see their states flourish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Nevada Online Casinos Legal for Non-Nevada Residents?chevron

It is true that Nevada has one of the healthiest gambling industries, not only in the United States, but also the world. However, a lot of the residents do still gamble illegally through betting on foreign websites that don’t hold a license in the state and operate outside US legal jurisdiction.

There isn’t a lot that the state can do about this as they can’t pursue offshore websites. Betting companies often operate from countries that have very few (if any) regulations. Also since the sites are often unsafe and unreliable, the state of Nevada has slated these as illegal.

Nevada State Attorney General and the State Gaming Control Board both deem the lack of proper state authorization as an offense. Illegal operators can find themselves in hot water and face a more severe punishment than a Felony B charge.

What types of games do Nevada online casinos have available?chevron

There are numerous forms of online gambling available in Nevada. Sports betting is one of the most popular kinds of betting, and these bets can be placed as long as the bet is placed while in Nevada.

Some of the types of games that you can expect to play online in Nevada include Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette and various other forms of casino poker. These can be streamed right from a land-based casino and come with audio, giving the gambler the ultimate experience.

Can I play online casino in Nevada if I don't live there?  chevron

This is a complicated answer. Indeed you can register an account on these websites from anywhere, however, you may not be able to deposit money while in a state outside of Nevada. Some of these poker websites will allow you to do this, but some won’t. So it depends on the site that you have joined whether you can deposit funds. One thing is for sure, the only way that you can play on these online casinos is when you are within the border of Nevada, or a state where gambling is legal. You don’t have to be a legal resident to sign up and play. However, you do need to be in the state when you play online.

Do offshore online casinos operate in Nevada?chevron

There are ways for offshore online casinos to operate. However, it is illegal. Tourists that visit the country, say from the United Kingdom will be players of different websites which aren’t available in Nevada. Due to 4G coverage, the players can continue using these accounts while they are abroad, however, should you join the local Wi-Fi networks you won’t be able to access even the home page, never mind place a bet.

For Nevada residents, they can sign up for offshore casinos. However, the punishments for being found using them and the vast amount of Nevada online casinos make it a risk that isn’t worth taking.