Nevada was the first state to legalize online poker. The first law was passed in 2001 and included both poker and casino games. The U.S. Department of Justice warned Nevada at the time that the activity may not be legal under federal law. The plan was abandoned for ten years.
It was revisited in 2011 when the Nevada Legislature passed a bill that developed the framework for regulated online poker.
In December 2011, the Nevada Gaming Control Board affirmed the regulations passed by the state legislature earlier that year. The state’s gaming commission drafted further regulations for legal online poker.
The Nevada Legislature only meets every two years. When it returned to session in February 2013, passing the new law was a priority of Governor Brian Sandoval. The bill passed and was signed by the governor all in one day.
First legal Nevada poker site opened
Ultimate Poker became the first fully legal U.S. real money online poker room on April 30, 2013. Ultimate Poker was owned by parent company Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Station Casinos.
Ultimate Gaming acquired CyberArts, an online gaming company, in 2011. This acquisition gave Ultimate Gaming a poker platform without having to develop one. The CyberArts poker software was used in the unregulated U.S. market until 2006 by GamesGrid and in Italy by Gioco Digitale through 2010. Gioco Digitale was the first legal online poker room in Italy, according to CyberArts.
The CyberArts platform was dated. It did not offer features that serious players demand. This hurt the Ultimate Poker reputation from the first day.
The most basic software items were missing at launch. There were no player notes, seat adjustments, hand histories and games other than Texas Hold’em were not involved in the original version of Ultimate Poker. The server also crashed frequently. The software lagged and froze on players.
Players were quick to speak out against the poor product Ultimate Gaming released. The company did not even try to deny how bad it was and did little to improve it. Future updates did not address feature requests and only fixed lag and added Omaha and Omaha High/Low.
Second Nevada online poker site opens
WSOP.com launched on September 17, 2013. This was a few months later than anticipated. WSOP.com hoped to launch during the summer World Series of Poker in 2013.
888 provides the software to WSOP.com. It is similar to the platform used in the international market by 888. Features included graphical hand history, player notes and smooth software that did not crash. The same partnership between WSOP and 888 exists in New Jersey for online poker, but not online casinos.
It also included Omaha, Omaha High/Low, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud High/Low. Players dumped Ultimate Poker quickly in favor of WSOP.com. It only took six weeks for WSOP.com to pass Ultimate Poker in terms of cash game players and become the largest site in Nevada.
Real Gaming became third Nevada poker site
Real Gaming became the third legal Nevada poker site in February 2014. It is owned by South Point.
The Real Gaming software was of very poor quality at launch, even compared to Ultimate Poker. Real Gaming’s platform worked but offered nothing in its software, not even sit out or auto post blinds buttons.
Real Gaming has never managed to capture more than 1 percent of the Nevada market.
Ultimate Poker failed
Ultimate Poker ceased operations in November 2014. The entire company went completely out of business at that time, citing a lack of demand and slow move towards legal online gaming in the United States.
Ultimate Gaming left the New Jersey market in October 2014. WSOP.com and Real Gaming still operate in Nevada.
Delaware and Nevada liquidity sharing agreement
The governors of Delaware and Nevada signed an agreement to share online poker players in February 2014. This partnership went live in March 2015.
WSOP.com linked its player pool with 888 in Delaware. This agreement had little effect in Nevada. Delaware only adds about 20 peak players per day to the Nevada player pool.
The liquidity sharing agreement has not improved Delaware’s online poker performance, despite adding nearly 10 times the number of cash game players. Delaware continues to post the lowest online poker revenue totals every month, trending down with every earnings release.
Nevada mobile online poker
WSOP.com and Real Gaming offer mobile apps.
The WSOP.com app permits players to sit at one table. Texas Hold’em is the only game available. Players may choose between cash games, sit and gos and multi table tournaments. A cash game lobby is not visible. Players must click on available limits to see if there is any action. The sit and go and multi table tournament lobbies offer more functionality.
The design of Real Gaming’s web-based software permits its use on any mobile device. No separate app is needed to play. The lobby and games are launched in the device’s browser. Screen sizing can be a problem on smaller devices.
Mobile sports betting in Nevada
Players may bet on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, golf, auto racing, tennis and many more. Single sports bets are permitted. Parlays, teasers, futures and in-play are also allowed.
The device making the wager must be located in Nevada when a bet is made. An account must be created in person at an affiliated sports book before bets are accepted.
Some companies offer online depositing and withdrawals. Most require cash deposits and withdrawals at a sportsbook.
Nevada online casino games
Nevada does not permit online casino games in the traditional sense. Nevadans may only play online poker and bet on sports away from a casino.
Inside a resort, mobile devices may be used to play slots, video poker and table games. There is no serious discussion to expand casino games to the rest of the state’s mobile devices.
Nevada online poker FAQ
Who can offer online poker in Nevada?
Licensed Nevada casinos may offer online poker. Most large companies obtained a license but only three ever bothered to launch. The market is not large enough to carry any more than one or two sites. Software providers may supply platforms to casinos. Examples of this include 888 licensing its software to WSOP.com.
Nevada has a bad actor clause. A company that offered illegal online gaming to Nevadans after December 31, 2006 must sit out of the market for five years after the launch. All trademarks and software are considered to be tainted assets forever.
Who can play online poker in Nevada?
Any person 21 years of age or older may play online poker in Nevada as long as they are physically located in the state at the time of play.
How do Nevada poker sites determine a player’s location?
Geolocation software is used to determine a player’s location in Nevada. The most common form is wifi positioning. This uses wireless router maps provided by Google to determine where a player’s computer or device is located. A backup system of cell phone triangulation is used if the wireless positioning fails.
Real Gaming requires a separate app for geolocation. It must be downloaded onto a smartphone. The app must be started before sitting down at a table. Players without a smartphone are unable to play at Real Gaming.
How do I deposit at a Nevada poker site?
Nevada’s poker sites accept electronic checks, Visa, Mastercard, Neteller, Skrill, PayNearMe, bank wires, PayPal and cash at the related casino.
WSOP.com accepts deposits at Rio, Caesars Palace, Paris, Harrah’s and Planet Hollywood.
Real Gaming accepts deposits at South Point on Las Vegas Blvd south of the Strip.
How do I withdraw from a Nevada poker site?
Both Nevada poker sites offers check and cash withdrawals. WSOP.com also offers electronic checks, Neteller, and PayPal.
How do I deposit on a Nevada sports betting app?
Most Nevada sports betting apps require deposits in cash at an affiliated sportsbook. Station Casinos offers a prepaid debit card. This permits credit and debit card deposits via Visa, Mastercard and Discover, as well as bank transfers.
William Hill accepts PayNearMe. This is a cash transfer service. Players can deposit at any 7-11 in Nevada. The maximum deposit through PayNearMe is $500. William Hill also offers kiosks at more than 100 taverns throughout Nevada on kiosks. Most of these are located in PT’s Taverns and other Golden Gaming establishments.
How do I withdraw From a Nevada sports app?
Most Nevada sports apps require players to pick up winnings at an affiliated sportsbook window.
Station Casinos is the exception. Station Casinos offers a prepaid debit card that may be used at any ATM or any retailer that accepts Discover.
What makes regulated Nevada online gaming safer than offshore sites?
The Nevada Gaming Commission has one of the best reputations in the world. The vetting of licensed operators and employees screens out those with a history of unethical behavior. Licensing also encourages companies to operate legitimately through fear of losing licenses and or facing criminal prosecution.
Online gaming software must be tested for fairness. This includes the random number generators. Gaming sites must segregate player funds in separate accounts not related to operations. All bets must be paid in a timely manner.
None of these regulations apply to sites located outside of Nevada that operate without a gaming license. There is no reason to make bets at sites that are unlicensed in Nevada. A Nevada player giving action to offshore sites is at the mercy of an unlicensed company.