Nevada Gambling Guide
The State of Nevada, is the desert state where you can find Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the US.
Nevada is the seventh largest state in the United States by area but 32nd by population with its 3 million residents making it one of the most sparsely populated.
While Las Vegas is the most well-known city in Nevada, it is not the capital of the state, Carson City is the actual capital of Nevada.
One of the most popular attractions in Nevada (except for the gambling and entertainment in Las Vegas) is the Hoover Dam. It’ the most-visited dam in the world, counting some 7 million tourists a year.
However, Las Vegas is still the biggest attraction in Nevada with more than 42 million visitors in 2018 making it a huge tourist attraction.
You can’t talk about Nevada without talking about Las Vegas and its interesting history of entertainment, gambling and of course, the Mafia.
The city was officially founded in 1905 after a railroad was constructed which connected the city to Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Many workers migrated to the city which also attracted the Mafia who is largely credited with building the city and its gambling district.
Although the Mafia has, for the most part, left the city in the last couple of decades, obviously gambling has not and it continues to be the cities biggest revenue generator.
Gambling in Nevada is mainly centered in Las Vegas. The city has had gambling since it was founded in 1905 when people played at underground casinos when, at the time, it was outlawed.
Gambling wasn’t legalized until 1931 when Assembly Bill 98 was introduced by Nevada State Assemblyman Phil Tobin. They sought to legalize a wide range of gambling in the state and it was signed into law by Governor Fred Balzar on March 1931.
Gambling was legalized again to mainly open up a new revenue stream for the struggling city and while also decreasing the number of residents leaving the city.
While many credit organized crime figure Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel with building the first Las Vegas Strip resort when he opened Flamingo 1946, it was actually Thomas Hull who developed the first Las Vegas resort when El Rancho opened in 1941.
The post-World War II period for Las Vegas was a big celebration as the city’s entertainment expanded and tourist traffic boomed. This is also when the very renowned Golden Nugget opened its door along with other casino resorts in the state.
The rest, as you say, is history. The Las Vegas gambling industry has flourished over the years generating billions of dollars for the city and the state. In 2017 alone, visitors to casinos and other gaming establishments spent more than $9 billion which was almost a 3% increase from 2016.
Nevada and Las Vegas will forever be associated with entertainment and gambling but it will be interesting to see how the industry will be impacted when online gaming ramps up in the United States.
Sports betting has probably been around for hundreds and maybe thousands of years but Las Vegas has had it for several decades making it a huge income source for the city and the state.
Nevada was for a long time the only state in the country to have regulated sports betting until the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was dismissed by the Supreme Court in May of 2018 which lead to a few other states making sports betting legal.
Sports betting didn’t automatically become legalized in 1931 when the state legalized gambling.
It took Nevada almost 20 years (1949) after legalizing gambling to legalize sports betting after it recognized the interest and wanted to increase tourism and end the illegal bets ran by various groups including the American Mafia.
The federal government initially slapped a 10% tax rate on sports book operators (also known as “Turf Clubs” at the time) which led to some of them either charging the gamblers a high vigorish or closing down.
Many casinos didn’t want to get near sports betting as a business because it wasn’t profitable until the federal government lowered the tax rate to 2% on October 15, 1974.
Enter Frank Rosenthal who was once called by Sports Illustrated as "the greatest living expert on sports gambling". If you’re familiar with the movie Casino, Robert De Niro’ character Sam “Ace” Rothstein was based on Frank.
Rosenthal convinced state legislators to allow sports betting in the casinos which became a reality by 1976 when Stardust Casino introduced sports betting to its gamblers.
This basically ended the era of “Turf Clubs” and casino sports books was now a reality.
The federal lowered the tax rate to 0.25% by January 1, 1983 making the industry even more lucrative for casino operators.
Today, sports betting is a huge market for the Nevada casinos and it definitely shows in bets taken over the years. Betting has grown exponentially since 1984 when the casinos were handling $900 million in bets to 2018 when they handled $5 billion in bets.
Online sports betting is also legalized in the state of Nevada but it works a little differently than a state like New Jersey. For example, you have to go in person to a sports betting operator to open an online account and you may also need to deposit money in person and not online.
This was a big historic mark for Nevada making the state first in the US to legalize some sort of online gambling which was five days ahead of New Jersey’s passing of online gambling legislation.
UltimatePoker.com was the first operator to launch its online poker application on April 30, 2013. Ultimate Poker ultimately shut down in late 2014 due to not generating enough revenue to keep the operator afloat so the parent company “Ultimate Gaming” closed it down.
There are currently two licensed online poker applications operating in the state; World Series of Poker (WSOP) and Real Gaming.
To further expand the online poker platform, Nevada and Delaware governors signed an agreement on February 25, 2014 that would allow their gamblers in their state to compete online against each other.This agreement was expanded on October 13, 2017 to include the state of New Jersey.
Types of gambling available in Nevada
|Type of Gambling||Legalized||Description|
|Casino Gambling||✅ Yes||There are more casinos in Nevada than anywhere else in the world|
|Live Poker||✅ Yes||Has been legal for decades in Nevada|
|Live Sports Betting||✅ Yes||Sports betting has been legal in the state since 1949|
|Lottery Gaming||❌ No||Nevada’s state constitution is clear: no lottery is authorized by the state|
|Bingo Gaming||✅ Yes||Bingo games are legalized in the state|
|Online Casino||❌ No||Not legalized yet in the state|
|Online Poker||✅ Yes||Online poker was legalized in early 2013. There are currently two operators in Nevada|
|Online Sports Betting||✅ Yes||Online sports betting is legal as long as you are within the state borders|
|Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)||❌ No||DFS is legal but it is considered to be gambling so none of the major operators have a presence in Nevada|
List of Poker Operators
|Online Operator||Online Casino||Online Poker|
|Real Gaming||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|WSOP||❌ No||✅ Yes|
List of Sports Betting Operators
|Online Sports Book||iPhone App||Android App|
|Atlantis||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|B-Connected Sports||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Caesars||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|CG Technology||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Golden Nugget||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|MGM Resorts - PlayMGM||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Nevada Sports Books||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Station Casinos Sports||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Treasure Island||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|WestGate Resorts||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Western Villages Parks||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|William Hill||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Wynn Las Vegas||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
Nevada Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
DFS is considered as gambling in the state of Nevada which means that an operator has to apply for a license. Many of the large companies discontinued their DFS operations in Nevada in 2015 following the ruling.
The operators left the state and have not returned since then so DFS is currently not big business in the state.
Nevada Gambling Timeline
Nevada Online gambling and sportsbetting FAQ
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as legal advice or instructions. The information you read here is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.