Legal Nevada Poker Sites

Nevada is known for being the state to go to if you want to play poker, blackjack, slots or bet on sports, dog and horse races. Las Vegas is obviously the largest and most popular gambling destination. However, there are others like Reno, Laughlin, Carson City and Henderson.

Nevada is also becoming known for their online poker too. There has been a lot of buzz about the laws they've passed over the last year, and how they're going to become the first state to offer poker on a state level.

With that all in mind, I wanted to take a few minutes to explain their current laws about (international) online gambling, what sites are going to hit the market in 2013 and the biggest challenges that intrastate poker sites face.

Online Poker Laws in Nevada

Online gambling in Nevada is illegal. According to code NRS 465.093:

Placing, sending, transmitting or relaying wagers to another person prohibited under certain circumstances; penalty.

1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 465.094, a person, alone or with others, shall not knowingly:

(a) From within this state, place, send, transmit or relay through a medium of communication a wager to another person or an establishment that is located within or outside of this state; or

(b) From outside of this state, place, send, transmit or relay through a medium of communication a wager to another person or an establishment that is located within this state.

2. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

It's not hard to understand why either. Much of Nevada's revenue comes from brick and mortar gambling establishments. Since online operators don't pay any sort of fees or taxes, Nevada would lose money if it was ok for players to play poker online. So they've made it illegal to protect that.

Legal Nevada Poker Sites

In 2011 Nevada changed their views about online poker. It's now legal to play poker online in Nevada state, but only on an "intrastate" level. In other words, on poker sites designated for Nevada poker players only. The first operator license was granted in 11-2012, and several more were given since then. The first real money site is expected to launch sometime in (early) 2013.

The operators that have been licensed include:

  • South Point Poker - 8-23-2012
  • Monarch Casino and Resort - 8-23-2012
  • American Casino & Entertainment Properties - 9-20-2012
  • Boyd Gaming - 10-18-2012
  • GNLV - 10-18-2012
  • Fertitta Interactive - 10-18-2012
  • MGM Resorts - 11-15-2012

There are other companies that have been approved, but their licenses are for affiliate services, software providers and manufacturing.

It's not an easy license for operators to get either. They have to go through a rigorous application process, as well as pay over $2600 in fees to even be considered.

Once licensed, operators will have to follow a strict set of rules.

  • Operators will have to obtain proof of ID for players. Players will need to be 21+, provide their social security number and history of self-exclusions. Operators will have 30 days to verify these details.
  • Player locations will need to be logged to make sure that the games are exclusive to Nevada players.
  • Players will not be allowed to transfer funds. This is to prevent money laundering.

Strict. But not surprising.

Challenges of Legal Intrastate Poker Sites in Nevada

Intrastate poker is a breakthrough for online poker. It's going to provide everyone with an idea of what legalized online poker would look like, if it were ever approved on a federal level. However, it's not going to come without it's challenges, either.

The biggest challenge will be player traffic. There are only 3 million people in Nevada. Experts and pro players alike agree that this won't be enough traffic to sustain consistent games. Keep in mind that just because there are 3 million people doesn't mean that everyone is going to gamble (online). The one thing that will resolve this is if player pools are shared between operators, either on an intrastate, national or international level, but we'll have to wait to see what happens there.

The second challenge is the ban on player to player transfers. Many players are staked to play poker. That means that people give them money to play in exchange for a cut of their profits. But funds are usually moved using player accounts. Without player to player transfers, moving funds will be difficult. I think this will force some players to continue playing on international sites (versus intrastate sites), or look for inconvenient alternatives to move their funds around.