Nevada Making Moves To Legalize Online Casinos

Nevada has long been the gold standard in the US gaming industry. It was the first state with legal casino gambling, the first state to regulate sports betting, and the first state to authorize interactive gaming. 

But when it comes to online casino offerings, Nevada is a bit behind the eight ball. 

The only online casino offering that is legal in Nevada is online poker. It’s a limitation that has not gone unnoticed by casino players and now, apparently, by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

According to a May 3 public notice, the Board will solicit public comments on possible amendments to state interactive gaming regulations on Thursday, May 13, 2021, starting at 11 a.m. PDT.  

The public, gaming licensees, and anyone else who is interested will be able to participate via a live stream link located on the Board website and submit comments as the Board considers the following proposed amendments to the Nevada Gaming Commission’s regulation of iGaming: 

  • Removing limiting interactive gaming to the game of poker;
  • Create definitions of “non-peer-to-peer game” and “peer-to-peer game,” and;
  • Clarify that a licensed operator of interactive gaming must continue to meet qualifications necessary for licensing, among others. 

The full workshop agenda is found in section III in the May 3 notice

The Move Behind Online Casinos In Nevada 

Players of baccarat, slots, roulette, craps, and blackjack must drive to brick-and-mortar facilities to legally cash in on casino-type games in Nevada. That may be fine for many bettors, but it spelled trouble for casinos, and their tourists, when casinos were shuttered for more than two months in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Some Las Vegas casinos forced to close last year remain closed. The CEO of the parent company of the Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson casinos told investors in February that there is no plan yet to reopen those properties. 

Not that Nevada will ever have a shortage of casinos — the state has more than 200 of them, says the American Gaming Association. Altogether, Nevada has around 2,500 licensed gaming facilities. 

What Nevada doesn’t have, at least right now, is growing online casino gaming tax revenue at a time when online casino markets in the U.S. are on the move. 

“As more state budgets come up shorts, there’s going to be more of an appetite to pass legislation for iGaming, former Nevada Gaming Control Board chair Becky Harris told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in January. 

Nevada’s iGaming Future? 

When Nevada may actually have more than online poker to offer its bettors is unclear. But one thing is for sure — there is already interest in making online casinos happen in the state. 

Bet.Works CEO David Wang says his company is hopeful that Nevada will expand online casino games “sooner rather than later,” although Wang expects remote registration will be necessary for future growth. 

Nevada has been slow to adopt remote registration thus far. 

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