Legal Nevada Online Poker
Last Updated May 3, 2021
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 NV 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 :
|State Code Section(s)||41.462-466|
|Definitions||Game or gambling machine: Any game played with cards, dice, equipment or any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device or machine for money, property, checks, credit or any representative of value, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, faro, monte, roulette, keno, bingo, fan-tan, twenty-one, blackjack, seven-and-a-half, big injun, klondike, craps, poker, chuck-a-luck, Chinese chuck-a-luck (dai shu), wheel of fortune, chemin de fer, baccarat, pai gow, beat the banker, panguingui, slot machine, any banking or percentage game or any other game or device approved by the Commission, but does not include games played with cards in private homes or residences in which no person makes money for operating the game, except as a player, or games operated by charitable or educational organizations which are approved by the Board.|
Interactive gaming: 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 includes, without limitation, Internet poker.
Communications technology for interactive gaming: 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.
Interactive gaming facility: Any Internet website, or similar communications facility in which transmissions may cross any state’s boundaries, through which any person operates interactive gaming through the use of communications technology.
Mobile gaming: Conduct of gambling games through communications devices operated solely in an establishment which holds a non-restricted gaming license and which operates at least 100 slot machines and at least one other game by the use of communications technology that allows a person to transmit information to a computer 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. For the purposes of 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 wireless network, wireless fidelity, wire, cable, radio, microwave, light, optics or computer data networks. The term does not include the Internet.
|Online Poker/Gambling||Nevada was the first state in America to legalize and regulate online poker within its borders. It has and continues to exclude other casino games offered via the internet.|
|Live Poker||Many of the casinos in Nevada include live poker rooms at their establishments, which can offer cash games and tournaments at all stakes.|
|Casinos||There are more than 300 casinos across the state of Nevada, most of which offer everything from slot machines to table games.|
|Sports Betting||Nevada was one of the few states exempted from PASPA, the federal law that prohibited most states from offering sports betting until it was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2018. Sports betting is common throughout the state and offered at many of its casinos.|
|DFS||Considered gambling and legal, daily fantasy sports is allowed in Nevada, but gaming commission officials are working with operators to encourage licenses for offering DFS, which most of them do not currently possess.|
|Other Forms of Gambling||Charitable lotteries and gambling, social gambling, licensed horse and dog racing, off-track race wagering.|
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 Borders
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. PA online poker sites are not likely to go live until mid-2019.
Pennsylvania legalized and regulated online poker and casino games in October 2017. The first online casinos launched in the summer of 2019, but the first online poker site didn’t launch until the first week of November. PokerStars, partnered with Mount Airy Casino, opened its virtual doors for business and quickly attracted more players than its PokerStars site in New Jersey.
West Virginia also legalized online poker and casino games in 2019. The state regulator plans to issue licenses in 2021 and launch gaming sites online in 2022.
The Future of Regulated Online Poker Sites in Nevada
For nearly five years, the WSOP/888poker site has been the only online poker option for Nevada players. Its monopoly has gone unchallenged, primarily because there doesn’t seem to be room in the market for two or more operators.
Through the years, various casinos have flirted with online poker partnerships, but only one happened that looks promising. It happened in the spring of 2019 when GVC, parent company of PartyPoker, petitioned the Nevada Gaming Commission for an interactive gaming license.
It worked. The Nevada gaming regulator unanimously approved GVC for a two-year interactive gaming license for its Roar Digital subsidiary. This is the company that GVC established in the US to operate in states like New Jersey for legal online gaming. While there is no promise that PartyPoker will launch in Nevada under the Roar Digital license, it remains a definite possibility.
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’s Licensing and Fee Requirements
Which companies hold online gaming licenses in Nevada?
Currently there are two licensees in Nevada, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission, though only one offers online poker at this time:
- WSOP via Caesars Interactive Entertainment for WSOP.com
- Real Gaming via South Point Poker for RealGaming.com
The Nevada Gaming Commission website does not list a current license for GVC or Roar Digital for unknown reasons
What games are available?
Interactive gaming, as defined by Nevada state law, includes only internet poker. This includes a number of poker variants that can be offered as cash games or in tournament formats.
What are the taxes, licensing fees, etc.?
License applications require a fee of $500,000 for a first-time online poker operator effective for two years. From that point forward, the renewal fee is $250,000 per year.
Online gaming revenues are taxed at the same rate as other forms of gaming in Nevada, which starts at 3.5% for revenue not exceeding $50,000 per month, 4.5% for revenues between $50,000 and $134,000 per month, and 6.75% for revenue exceeding $134,000 per month. It has been determined that the sole provider of online poker in Nevada pays 6.75% of gross gaming revenue per month.
All Poker and Gambling Laws by State
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There were many reasons for supporters of online poker and gaming to watch the results of the 2018 November mid-term elections. Florida residents voted to give themselves the sole power to change gambling laws going forward. New York replaced a pro-online poker state senator who was retiring. Michigan retained aRead Full
- November 6th, 2018
The idea that Delaware is actually celebrating the five-year anniversary of launching its online poker sites might be a bit of an exaggeration. Even so, those who have been watching the new United States market can take a moment to recognize the achievement. Delaware may be a small state andRead Full
- October 21st, 2018
Phil Ivey’s list of accomplishments in poker is long and impressive. In live tournaments alone, he has won more than $26 million. Add to that his online poker earnings, sponsorships, cash game poker and sports betting wins, and business investments, and Ivey can claim a successful career. That is notRead Full
- October 6th, 2018
Every few months, the poker community hears a whisper of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, more commonly known as RAWA. Its financier, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, regularly tries to push an anti-online gambling agenda through the politicians to whom he regularly donates campaign funds. He also uses his lobbyingRead Full
Read More About Poker and Gambling in Nevada
Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming. 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. 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. 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
- Nevada Gaming Control Act and Ancillary Statutes
- Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming: University of Nevada, Reno
- Centre for Gaming Research, UNLV
- Nevada Gaming Control Board : Home
- Nevada Council on Problem Gambling
- Laws/Code of Nevada
- National Council on Problem Gambling (Nevada)
- Official State Website
- Nevada Legal Guide
- Nevada Gaming Control Board and Commission
- Nevada Gaming Control Board and Commission – Online Gaming