Nevada Poker Laws

Nevada Legal Gambling Laws
Legal Poker Sites & Gambling in Nevada

For many, Nevada represents the future of online poker.  As the first state in the US to roll out regulations and systems for licensing online poker operators, Nevada will no doubt play a major role in the next wave of poker played online.

For now, poker players in Nevada have a lot of questions about how to use online poker rooms in the present tense.  We'll touch on the outlook for regulated poker in Nevada, cover the steps you'll need to take to play in the current environment and touch on a host of related topics in this Guide to Nevada and Online Poker.

What Are the Best Poker Sites in Nevada?

The number one question we get about online poker in Nevada is "What site should I choose?" We always give the same answer, and that's to look for sites that are legally licensed, offer top-dollar promotions and provide a stable, secure environment for poker.  To save you the time of evaluating all of the rooms available to Nevada online poker players, we've selected the sites that best meet the criteria above and collected them into this list of online poker sites for Nevada:

Can You Play Poker Online in Nevada?

You can, and thousands of people do every day.  Poker is practically the state sport of Nevada, but even with some of the biggest and most famous poker rooms in the world within driving (sometimes walking) distances, many poker players choose to go online for their games.  Many of the major US-friendly poker sites welcome players from Nevada, including the top picks on our list above.

Nevada's Road to Legal Online Poker

It was no surprise when Nevada became the first state to legalize and regulate online poker in the United States. Nevada has been the first in many gambling advancements in America, and it chose to lead the way with the new internet poker industry as well.

Not long after the US Department of Justice issued a ruling regarding the Wire Act in 2011 giving states the right to legislate online lottery sales and gambling as they wished, Nevada’s lawmakers began working on internet poker legislation. As home to many of the world’s largest live poker tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker, and some of the largest poker rooms for cash games, Nevada knew that online poker had tremendous potential to expand the poker industry. The bill was passed through the legislature and became law in February 2013.Top ↑

Meanwhile, the Nevada Gaming Commission had begun working on regulations for the new online industry as far back as December 2011, just after the DOJ’s decision. When the bill became law, the framework was in place almost immediately to begin accepting applications for licenses.

Ultimate Gaming was the first company to launch an internet poker site for the residents of Nevada, and it went live in April 2013 in partnership with Station Casinos. Those brick-and-mortar rooms began advertising online poker immediately, and players flocked to the site, especially during the summer months when poker players were in Las Vegas for the WSOP. And speaking of WSOP, it launched its own online poker site in September 2013 with Caesars land-based properties. Not long after, in February 2014, Real Gaming and South Point Casino went live with a site of their own.

Real Gaming never became a viable competitor to the other two sites and eventually closed, but it was Ultimate Poker that saw the biggest fall. Despite launching in New Jersey as well, the company overestimated the profitability of the industry and was forced to close before the end of 2014. That left WSOP, which continues to operate today as the only site offering internet poker services in Nevada.

While it is impossible to know how profitable the state’s online poker site has become due to Nevada’s stipulation to only release revenue numbers when enough sites operate to merit the work, WSOP has grown and continues to offer a wide range of online poker tournaments and cash games. Top ↑

Online Poker Sites Beyond Nevada's

By 2014, Delaware and New Jersey had also legalized online poker, though they also included internet casino games in their established and regulated frameworks. But the online poker stipulations in all three states provided for the ability to join with other states to form an online poker network.

In February 2014, the governors of Nevada and Delaware signed the very first interstate online poker agreement, and the combined player pools launched in March 2015. Since WSOP/888 was the only site operational in both states for online poker services, it made sense to share players. That liquidity provided each state with more players, allowing for more tournament and cash game options at various times of the days/nights due to the three-hour time zone difference.

New Jersey hesitated to join the other two states, but talks took a serious turn in 2017. By October of that year, Governor Chris Christie joined Governors Brian Sandoval and John Carney to sign the agreement to link the online poker sites in all three states. Again, WSOP/888 was the only site live in all three states, so it spent the rest of 2017 and will continue in 2018 preparing to join player pools in all three states. Liquidity is expected to launch sometime in 2018.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania legalized and regulated online poker and casino games in late 2017. While its online poker sites are not likely to go live until mid-2018, talks about joining the interstate network may start as soon as early 2018, though Pennsylvania may wait until some sites are launched and in full compliance before any type of agreement is signed.

The Future of Regulated Online Poker in Nevada

With only one site offering online poker in Nevada four years after the industry’s launch, it is unclear if and when other sites will apply for licenses to operate in the state. Numerous companies have attempted to solidify partnerships and launched play-money online poker, but none led to real-money sites to compete with WSOP as of the end of 2017.

PokerStars is currently prohibited from obtaining an online poker license in Nevada, but other sites may be in talks with potential commercial casino partnerships. Sites like PartyPoker, Pala Poker, and PlayMGM in New Jersey are prime candidates for launching in Nevada. And with the recent signing of the online poker liquidity agreement, it would behoove those companies to look into Nevada licensing.Top ↑

Keep your eyes on our news section for developments in 2018 and beyond.

Gambling in Nevada - Capsule History

Perhaps no state is more closely associated with gambling than Nevada, but much of the state's early history with the betting business has been overshadowed by the story of the Vegas strip.  Before the first fabled resorts of Las Vegas were constructed, there was a time when Nevada was a something of a gambling hotspot.  Legal gambling was available across Nevada from the 1870s through 1910, sparking a wave of tourism that in many ways provided the basic template for Nevada's evolution into the gambling epicenter of the world. 

Two decades would pass before Nevada turned back to regulated gambling.  In 1931, the state seized an opportunity generated by the construction (and pending completion) of the Hoover Dam and passed laws effectively legalizing nearly every form of gambling within the state's borders.

Nevada - Regulated Casinos

Nevada is home to over 250 land-based casinos, or roughly one for every 425 square miles in the state.  Charitable gambling is also permitted (and regulated) by the state, along with pari-mutuel wagering.  Nevada is also home to a number of tribal gambling facilities.  The one form of regulated gambling Nevada lacks comes as a bit of a surprise to most - for all the fondness the state has for gambling, it has yet to introduce a state lottery (and has no apparent plans to do so).

Is Gambling Legal in Nevada?

Yes.  Nevada is one of the few states in the US that currently regulates and licenses active online gambling options.  As of now, sports betting and online poker are the only available online gambling options in Nevada, as the state has chosen not to offer online casino games like slots, blackjack, and other table games.Top ↑

Nevada in the News
  • Nevada Rep Requests US DOJ Wire Act Support
    March 13th, 2018

    The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) has taken many forms. In its original legislative form, it was a bill crafted by legislators to restore the original meaning of the Wire Act, essentially banning all online gambling at the federal level. All who have tried to introduce such bills or attach amendments to budget matters

  • Nevada Awards Bad Beat Jackpot to Players
    February 23rd, 2018

    The players beat the house. The Nevada Gaming Control Board ruled for the players and against Station Casinos in the case of the unpaid bad beat jackpot. On a technicality, Red Rock Casino ordered a sizeable jackpot go unpaid, but the players took the situation to the regulatory body that oversees such decisions. It was

  • WSOP Nevada Adds Circuit Event Ring
    February 20th, 2018

    To say the growth of online poker in the new United States markets is slow would be an understatement. More than four years after the launch of the first online poker site in Nevada, the first state to dip its toes into a new regulated space, there is still only one operator in the market.

Read More About Poker and Gambling in Nevada

Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming[4].  Based out of the University of Nevada, Reno, the ISGCG brings an academic focus to the world of Nevada casino gambling.  Research for those with a casual interest and those looking for in-depth answers is available at the institute's website.

UNLV Center for Gaming Research[5].  The UNLV Center for Gaming Research brings together various pieces of information and crafts a larger picture of the state's gambling industry.  A wealth of free research, reports and other interesting content related to regulated gambling in Nevada.

Nevada Gaming Commission[6].  State resource for regulatory information, minutes of board meetings, schedules - everything having to do with the business of offering heavily regulated gambling activity.

Nevada's Role in Poker History

Nevada doesn't have a place in poker history so much as the state is poker history.  While poker may not have been born in the state, the modern game of poker is very much from Nevada in every meaningful sense of the word.  The state's casinos host the biggest games, the brightest stages and the flat-out largest gathering of live poker players in the world.  

The list of famous poker players who either hail from the state or now call it home would easily exceed the length of this guide and then some.  Safe to say that if you're ever forced to guess the home base of a particular poker player, Nevada is far and away your best bet.Top ↑

Sources & Citations For This Article on Nevada Online Poker