Guide to Nevada Online Casinos & Gambling
Welcome to the capital of gambling: if you are in Nevada, you can find a casino where you can try your luck at almost every step. But if you want to do this online, it can be surprisingly difficult: there is no real money online casino in Nevada, and no one expects them to open anytime soon. However, we have an alternative for the best online casino in Nevada: if you play on the sites we have chosen for you, you will still be able to get legal, fair, safe, and reliable experience. Let's take a look at the list of these sites and then start talking about the legality of Nevada online casinos.
Gambling in Nevada
Nevada was one of the first states in the United States to legalize gambling: since the 1940s, all forms of land-based games of chance (lottery, sports betting, casino games, etc.) have been considered legal, provided that they are licensed. As a matter of fact, as most people know, Las Vegas, located in Nevada, is known almost all over the world as the capital of gambling.
Today, there are two agencies responsible for governing legal gambling: The Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Both actually do the same job; you can think of it as a two-tier system. The Gaming Control Board consists of teams working in the field and both inspect and evaluate new license applications. However, it cannot make the final decision on any issue; it can only give its recommendation to the Commission. In other words, for example, when a new license application is made, the Board can prepare a report and say whether it is appropriate (or not) to grant a license but cannot approve or reject it.
The final decision on any matter of legal gambling rests with the Commission. This is a commission consisting of five people, whose members are appointed by the governor. In practice, they do not make a decision contrary to the Board's advice. In other words, although the approval authority is the Commission, we can say that the Control Board actually carries out all the work.
How these agencies will work, what their powers will be, and the limits of legal gambling are determined by Nevada Revised Statutes Chapters 462, 463, 463B, 464, 465, and 466. Since they have been constantly updated since 1956, they are quite complex and use jargon that even professionals can have difficulty understanding. If you have enough time and consider yourself a patient person, you can access the most important provisions here, but let us point out that even this consists of 408 pages. So, let's briefly summarize the most important ones:
- All forms of gambling are legal for which a license has been issued.
- The Control Board and the Commission determine which types of gambling will be licensed.
- In this context, casino games (both games of chance and skill), sports betting, horse racing betting, dog racing betting, pari-mutual wagering, bingo, keno, and lottery are legal.
- Anyone wishing to gamble must be at least 21 years old.
So far, we haven't given you any information that might surprise you: saying that gambling is legal in Las Vegas is like stating the obvious. But maybe we still might surprise you: Nevada is one of the most conservative US states when it comes to online gambling, and all but one casino game is not allowed online. In other words, if you want to play online casino games in Nevada, you only have one option. However, even this option is not offered in the way you are used to, because Nevada online casinos are not considered legal.
Let's break this down a little further because it can get confusing. To summarize:
Online sports betting was made legal in 2018, but it has many restrictions. For example, there are no online bookmaker sites in Nevada.
Online poker was made legal in 2013 and many considered this to be an important step towards legal online gambling. However, this did not continue - poker is still the only game that is allowed to be played online within the borders of the state, but the relevant site must be established for this purpose only. So, it is not possible to open a real money online casino in Nevada, even if it will only offer poker. Once again, we will provide more information on this topic below.
You can find a slot machine to try your luck anywhere in Nevada, they even put them in gas stations. In other words, this is perhaps the easiest place in the world to access land-based slots. They are considered as “Games of Chance”, so slots are completely legal and can be found outside casino buildings too. In fact, as of 2023, there are 147,340 slot machines in Nevada.
However, this, unfortunately does not apply to online slots. As we mentioned above, there are no online casinos in Nevada and online versions of slot machines are not offered for the same reason. We can say that the authorities are particularly strict about this type of gaming because although the legalization of card and table games has been discussed more than once to date, no one has even talked about online slot machines. This is due to the fact that approximately 70% of Nevada casinos' revenue comes from slots. No casino operator is interested in offering these games online as there would be a significant decrease in customer numbers. You may think that they will still make money, but people who come to play slots stay for other reasons too and spend money on other things: it is all about convincing them to enter the casino.
Roulette and Other Table Games
Everything we said about slot machines also applies to roulette and other table games (blackjack, baccarat, craps, etc.). Some of them are considered games of chance, some are considered games of skill, and all of them can be offered legally. You won't find these games outside of casino buildings as most of them require a dealer, but you can play these games in any casino regardless of size. As of 2023, there are 5,443 table games in Nevada and their distribution is as follows:
- Blackjack – 2,148 games
- Baccarat – 456 games
- Roulette – 455 games
- Craps – 351 games
- Keno – 44 games
As we will point out below, poker is the second most popular card game, but none is as widespread as blackjack. Twenty-one is the most played game in this state. Once again, other than poker, none of these online casino games in Nevada are considered legal, just like online slot machines.
After the US Supreme Court's Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) decision in 2018, many states have legalized both land-based and online forms of sports betting. Land-based betting has already been legal in Nevada since the 1940s, and online betting began to be considered legal after this ruling. However, this is subject to many restrictions. The most important of these are:
- There is no separate online sports betting license, this is a right only granted to operators who already have a land-based betting license.
- Only Nevada residents can place online bets and they must register for this service. The registration process cannot be completed online. Bettors must apply in person to a land-based casino if they want to register. This alone causes most operators to pass Nevada.
- There are no online casinos in Nevada, but there are no online bookmakers either: sports betting is only allowed via mobile applications.
Other than the requirement to register in person, these are restrictions that exist in other US states, but they appear to be made particularly difficult in Nevada. Fortunately, there is no limitation in terms of bet types: if you follow these rules, you can try your luck at any bet.
Since it is a game of skill, poker has a privilege: its online version is allowed. However, if you search for the best online casino in Nevada to play poker, you may be disappointed. Online poker is played in online rooms established for this purpose and it is not possible for the operator to offer this game in a different way. The license conditions are quite strict. In other words, you should not think of an online casino that only offers poker. The online format of this game is similar to traditional poker rooms brought to the internet. However, you can still participate in tournaments and try almost every variant of the game.
Land-based poker, predictably, has been legal for almost 80 years. Considering that the World Series of Poker was born in Las Vegas, we can even say that it is the symbol of Nevada. According to 2023 data, there are 625 poker tables in casinos in the state. However, this figure does not include rooms opened specifically for high roller gamblers.
Land Based Casinos
It probably goes without saying that land-based casinos are legal in Nevada: everyone knows that. There are 465 casinos within the borders of Nevada as of 2023, and approximately 60 of them are located within the borders of Las Vegas. So actually, Las Vegas hosts 15% of the total casinos, the others are scattered in different regions. Anyone over the age of 21 can play.
Casino licenses are divided into two: unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted is the license granted to premises that have more than 15 games – there are 465 of them in total. In other words, any building that is considered a “casino” in the traditional sense has an unrestricted license and is more strictly regulated. Restricted license is given to any place that has less than 15 games (pubs, gas stations, motels, anywhere you can think of). These places are not real casinos, they just have a small number of gambling machines. The number of restricted licenses is 2,045 as of 2023. Land-based casinos make money from slot machines the most and they pay a tax of up to 6,75% on their gross gaming revenues.