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Nevada is home to Las Vegas - the center of the poker universe - so it's no surprise that it's one of the most gambling-friendly states in the country. In fact, in 2011, it became the first state to legalize online poker!
Early gambling prohibitions in Nevada were relatively unenforced, but licensing regulations were enacted in 1881 to tighten restrictions. Gambling was explicitly prohibited by a 1910 law, but it was then legalized in 1931 as a result of the Great Depression. The state needed income and hoped to offer gambling for a limited time, and the Northern Club in Las Vegas was the first to obtain a license. Las Vegas grew, as did Reno, as gambling centers of the state. Gambling became the state’s primary source of revenue and remains so today, in the form of land-based casinos and the upcoming Nevada online poker industry.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board was founded in 1955 as a state governmental agency overseeing gambling in the state, with all members appointed by the governor. The Nevada Gaming Commission was established in 1959 to regulate the state’s gaming entities by issuing regulations, granting licenses, and ruling on disciplinary matters - and today it still controls Nevada online poker issues. The state legislature authorized online gambling in 2011 and instructed the Commission to pass regulations for it, and the Commission unanimously approved said rules to allow online poker sites and other forms of Internet gambling in Nevada on December 22, 2011. Legal online Nevada poker licenses began to be issued in 2012, and top internet poker sites are now available to state residents.
Nevada remains the only state in America where casino gambling is legal on a statewide basis. Many states offer gambling in small geographic areas or on riverboats or Indian reservations, but Nevada remains a leader in the gambling industry in the United States, especially with online poker in Nevada now legal and regulated.
Q: Will other forms of casino games be available online in Nevada?
A: The Nevada Gaming Commission will approve license applicants as deemed prepared to go forward with an Internet endeavor to offer online casino or poker games in Nevada.
Q: Who can gamble in Nevada?
A: Any person over the age of 21 can legally gamble.
Q: Can you play for play money online in Nevada?
A: Players can compete on any website for play money from within the borders of Nevada and in Las Vegas. Real money gambling is now legal within Nevada's borders thanks to recent online poker legislation and regulation. As of right now, only poker is allowed online for real cash, though other games may soon follow.
Q: Will internet poker affect the land-based casino operations?
A. Experts say it is unlikely to affect negatively. Poker rooms are a miniscule portion of any casino’s revenue, so legal Nevada online poker will not affect their bottom line in a negative way. However, if casinos can successfully interest Nevada online poker customers to their land-based casinos, revenues could increase overall.
Q: Will online poker players move to Nevada?
A: Most internet poker players will not make a move to Nevada solely for the online poker offered there, as the player base is somewhat limited and high stakes games are not massively popular yet. Those with Las Vegas and Nevada addresses will try to play, though, to test the waters.
Q: Will other states follow the lead and regulate online poker?
A: Many other states are considering the option, but few have taken concrete steps in that direction. New Jersey was the first state to follow suit, and states like California continue to try.
Gaming revenues from the state have been increasing since legalization, and they have eclipsed $10 billion annually since 2003, which generally accounts for more than 30 percent of total state revenue. The Nevada Gaming Control Board numbers for 2011 showed 340 gambling establishments reporting on all table and slot games, as well as race and sports book, and keno and bingo, and the total gaming revenue was $10,700,994,000, and approximately $865.25 million of that was tax revenue. Those funds go to education, local governments, problem gambling programs, and a general fund. There are estimates as to the revenue that online poker in Nevada may generate, but no solid numbers will be available until a later date. To contact legislators regarding Nevada online poker issues, visit this page Nevada Federal Representatives.
Nevada state laws allow for all types of gambling under Title 41 of the Nevada statutes, with the exception of state-run lotteries. Charitable lotteries are the exception to that law.
Las Vegas is the largest gambling city in the world and hosts some of the largest poker tournaments. Cities from Reno to Tahoe also host poker tournaments. The largest tournament series in the world, the World Series of Poker, makes its home at the Rio in Las Vegas each year, other series like the World Poker tour and WSOP Circuit offer events throughout the year. The entire state offers gambling, from slot machines in the airport and in grocery stores to keno in restaurants. Card rooms are rare in Nevada, as there is no reason to segregate poker from other gaming offerings in any establishment. Given this considerable number of gambling establishments, online poker in Nevada simply seems a natural step.
Online gambling is in the process of regulation, but online poker in Nevada will happen first. Approval for South Point as the first entity to operate an online poker site in the state led to the first official license to be granted in late August 2012. Residents of the state and visitors within Nevada's borders are now able to play poker online. Players are able to deposit and withdraw funds from the online site via the cashier cages at South Point casino, linking the online and land-based casino in more than name only.