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Nevada

If there is one state in America that is synonymous with gambling, then it has to be Nevada. The state is home to Las Vegas, which for decades was the biggest casino resort city in the world (only recently surpassed by Macau). Throw in Reno and several other destinations that feature casinos, and it’s easy to understand why The Silver State is the leader of the USA gaming industry.

Similarly, the state has worked to become one of the leaders in regulating and monitoring the emerging online gambling industry in the United States. However, they have so far taken tentative steps into the arena, with only poker offered on their regulated sites.

From Live to Online

After the Department of Justice issued an opinion that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting and not other forms of remote betting, it became clear that some states were going to use that as a pretense to regulate some form of online gambling. In early 2012, Nevada launched the first regulated Internet poker site in the United States, breaking new ground in America.

That launch did come with some caveats, however. The only game allowed was poker; casino games were not a part, and still are not a part, of the market. And at the time, the sites were only intrastate operations, with only those located in Nevada allowed to play.

Over time, new sites would open, and some that launched ended up closing when they found the state’s market to be too small to support them. In the end, while there are still multiple virtual poker rooms in the state, only one has proven to be successful, and even that one has only managed to post modest revenues each month.

That changes early each summer: when the World Series of Poker brings tens of thousands of players into town, the market enjoys a massive spike that lasts as long as the WSOP is in session. Beginning in 2015, there was even official support for players to participate online while they were at the live tables, and the World Series awarded its first ever online bracelet.

Another change to the market took place in 2015. That’s when Nevada allowed the Internet poker networks to link with similar sites in Delaware, forming the first interstate network in the USA. It was a much bigger deal for Delaware’s sites, which were in desperate need of players, but it certainly provided at least a small boost on the other end of the equation as well.

When it comes to internet casinos, there are no regulations in place to manage them, and you can’t run your own Internet casino operation in the state. But there are also no laws preventing you from playing at online gambling sites if you choose to do so, and many major companies (particularly offshore sites) happily offer their games to Nevada players today.

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The Gambling Capital of the World

Nevada is home to dozens of casinos, including many in Las Vegas, the heart of casino gaming in the United States. Between Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Sparks and other destinations, you’ll never feel like you’re far from a blackjack table or a slot machine in this state.

If there’s one area that is the focus for most visiting tourists, it is the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Home to some of the most luxurious and ostentatious resorts on Earth, the Strip is filled from end to end with casinos on both sides of the street, and is an especially impressive sight at night. A list of all of the casinos in Las Vegas would be far too long for the purposes of this article, but a few of the most famous resorts on the Strip include:

  • The Bellagio
  • Caesars Palace
  • The Cosmopolitan
  • MGM Grand
  • New York-New York
  • The Rio
  • The Palms
  • The Venetian
  • Tropicana
  • The Wynn

One of the most interesting aspects of the industry here is the diversity of options available to customers around the state. Poker is obviously a big game: as we mentioned earlier, this is the home of the WSOP, and several of the largest and most popular poker rooms in the country are located in Las Vegas.

In addition, this is the only state in America where you can take advantage of full legal sports betting. Most of the larger establishments have sportsbooks, at which you can make bets on just about any sporting event in the world. The largest books are also great places to watch a game: according to many fans, there’s no better experience than watching the Super Bowl, a big fight, or another major event than in one of the biggest sportsbooks on the Strip, where you and hundreds or thousands of strangers will be screaming at televisions rooting for your side (or, at least, the side you bet on).

Beyond that, though, the sheer number of options available in the state (and especially in Las Vegas) are likely to impress any visitor. This isn’t limited to just gaming, either: the casinos now bring more revenue from non-gaming sources than from the gambling itself, and many resorts feature world-class dining, shopping, and other amenities.

Future Developments

At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be much movement in the state toward expanding their online gambling regulations to include casino games. That said, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is always keeping abreast of the latest developments in the industry, and even recently has made ruling that could impact gaming in the state in the years to come.

In September 2015, state authorities gave approval to skill-based slot machines that would allow players to have a chance of improving (or hurting) their odds based on their performance in games that weren’t entirely based on luck. This could mean bonus rounds that test a player’s reflexes, or ones in which players are pitted against each other for extra winnings. That appears to be a move designed to bring younger players back to slots, though it remains to be seen how effective it will be.

Another recent ruling in the state found that the newly popular daily fantasy sports sites would be classified as gambling in Nevada. That ruling meant that the fantasy sites couldn’t operate in the state without a license, causing them to shut down their operations there. That decision also seemed to set the tone for the debate over DFS sites in other states – once again showing that the state plans to be a leader in the American gaming industry, no matter what form it takes.

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