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Can full online casino games come to Nevada? State regulators to discuss

Published: May 4, 2021, 01: 32 hrs.

Last updated: 4 May, 2021, 01: 50 h.

Devin O'Connor

Nevada is synonymous with casinos, but the state currently bans almost all forms of online gambling. That may soon change.

Nevada online casino Las Vegas sports betting
The Las Vegas Strip is seen idling during the March 22, 2020 Nevada state shutdown. Online gaming would allow the state's casinos to generate at least some gaming revenue during the pandemic's complete shutdown of nonessential businesses. (Photo: Reno Gazette )

Many outsiders who visit Las Vegas only casually are often surprised to learn that Nevada is one of only five states that do not have a lottery or participate in interstate lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Despite the proliferation of legal, regulated online gaming across the country - interactive slot machines and live table games in five states and more - Nevada still bans most online gambling.

The exception is online poker, which has been operating in Nevada since 2013. The lone operating platform, WSOP.com, connects its online poker players from New Jersey and Delaware.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has proposed a series of amendments to Regulation 5A , the state's interactive gaming laws. The NGCB scheduled May 17 to consider allowing additional online casino games and allowing bettors to set up mobile accounts without visiting a casino.

Requested input data

The NGCB, with three members, is asking the gaming industry for public comment and feedback on the possible expansion of online casino gaming and the abandonment of the first in-person mobile bookmaker account registration .

Casinos have long opposed allowing sports gamblers to fully register online because registering in person forces them to visit physical gambling halls.

Regulated online sports betting operates in 15. Only two - Nevada and Illinois - require in-person account creation. During the 2020 pandemic, Illinois temporarily suspended the need for in-person necessity and allowed players to register remotely.

The NGCB will not vote on the Bylaw 5A amendments at the May 13 hearing. If that happens at a later date and at least two board members support the online gaming expansion measures, the amendments will be referred to the Nevada Gaming Commission for further consideration and final approval.

The importance of online games

COVID-19 revealed how incredibly important iGaming can be during a pandemic.

In Pennsylvania, the second richest casino gaming market in the country, online casinos accounted for 21 percent of the state's gross gaming revenue (GGR) last year. While sports betting is hitting the headlines, online slots and table games are much more profitable for iGaming operators and their land-based casinos.

2020 iGaming in Pennsylvania totaled 556.7 million. Mobile and in-person bookmakers kept $ 189. 7 million in bets were placed. In New Jersey, online casinos generated GGR of 970. 3 million. Bookmakers kept $ 398. 5 million won.

Revenue from online casinos and sports betting helped offset some of the losses at casinos in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania's 2020 GGR is off 22 percent from 2019. In New Jersey, the GGR rate is down nearly 17 percent. But in Nevada, GGR fell 64 percent.

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