Nevada is the heavy hitter when it comes to gambling opportunities, with the wealth spread throughout the state (rather than in one central location like Atlantic City).
Legally, most everything gaming-related is available here. Land-based casinos flourish, offering more slots and table games that all the other 49 states combined. You’ll also find slots at restaurants, gas stations, and even laundromats. Card rooms also can be found dotting the landscape, offering poker and other table games for cash.
Online, you’ll have no problem finding poker sites to gamble on, but the state has forbidden casino games online. Slot players have to settle for social gaming sites and play for fun instead of profit.
Sports betting is also a legal and profitable pastime, with sports books located within established casinos. While there are no active racing tracks with betting in Nevada, you can make pari-mutuel bets on national horse races through sports books. Additionally, most sports books in the state also offer mobile sports betting apps so people can place bets right on their cell phones.
Legal online poker in Nevada
Nevada really only has one legal online poker site – World Series of Poker (WSOP.com). Read our review of WSOP Nevada here, or click below to visit and get $10 free for new players:
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Recent Nevada legal gambling news
The WSOP-888 online poker network has become the king of the hill in NJ, but its days on top of the online poker market could be numbered.
New Jersey is serious about refusing sports betting licenses to casinos with pro sports teams ownership stakes, like Golden Nugget, whose owner also owns the Houston Rockets.
Justin Bonomo’s winning streak at the poker tables is one for the history books. He is now third on the all-time money list after winning the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million.
After years of ardently fighting against sports betting, all it took was a single Supreme Court decision for the NCAA to completely change its tune about wagering.
Land-based slots options
Nevada is synonymous with gambling in the minds of most Americans.
From 1931 until 1976 (when New Jersey legalized casinos in Atlantic City), aside from a short period in southern Maryland, Nevada was the only spot for legal gambling in the United States. Overseen by the powerful Nevada Gaming Control Board, gambling is widespread to the point of ubiquity in the state, although it is far more concentrated in the population centers.
As such, slot machines can be found in hotels, standalone casinos, airports, other public buildings, and even grocery stores. In 2016, the state had just under 170,000 slot machines available for play. In Las Vegas alone, there are eight residents per operating slot machine.
Nevada is paradise for the land-based slots player. Obviously, the Las Vegas Strip holds countless options for play, but off-Strip locations can also be fruitful.
In fact, at least one publication ranked the off-Strip casinos as having second loosest slots in the nation, returning 94.54 percent of their wagers.
Interestingly, the off-Strip locations were second in those same rankings to the casinos located in Reno. Reno is the second major gaming destination in the state, and although it doesn’t get the attention of Las Vegas, there are several worthy places to play in northern Nevada, including casinos in Lake Tahoe and Carson City.
Finally, slots players can find options in Laughlin and West Wendover – small towns bordering neighboring states that operate casinos to essentially welcome and inform travelers that they’ve entered Nevada.
Below are the Nevada casinos with the most square footage dedicated to slot machines. Some casinos have clearly chosen to focus on slot play as a greater percentage of their floor space than others. (Note: Casinos on the strip will have “The Strip” as their location; all casinos with a “Las Vegas” location are off-Strip.)
|Property||Slot Machine Square Footage||Location|
|Santa Fe Station||130,000||Las Vegas|
|MGM Grand||111,955||The Strip|
|Green Valley Ranch||109,522||Henderson|
|Circus Circus – Las Vegas||100,223||The Strip|
|Aliante||100,116||North Las Vegas|
Online slots options
Real-money online gambling was legalized in Nevada in 2013 – sort of.
At present, only poker is allowed under Nevada’s AB 114 law, and only two licensees are authorized to offer real-money poker to Nevada residents: World Series of Poker (owned by Caesars) and Real Gaming (owned by South Point Poker LLC).
Unfortunately, prospects for further development of internet gambling within Nevada have recently taken a turn for the worse.
Attorney general Adam Laxalt recently joined nine other state attorneys general in signing a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, which would effectively ban internet gambling on a nationwide basis.
Though Laxalt’s action has been roundly denounced by other prominent politicians, including the governor of Nevada and the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, it does not bode well for the prospects of advancing online gambling in Nevada – particularly given the large campaign donations that Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Venetian, has made to incoming lawmakers on the basis that they would work to ban online gambling.
Adelson is fearful that online gambling will cannibalize his land-based casino revenue to the extent that he is willing to spend millions of dollars to exert political influence. Although he has yet to be successful, there is worry that President Trump, who has his own land-based casinos and potential motivation to ban online gambling, might be sympathetic to the move proposed by the state attorneys general.
Social casino site options
While there are well-known options for social gaming in every state, Nevada residents are uniquely poised to take advantage of one particular application: MyVegas is an app owned by MGM Mirage.
Free to anyone, it offers the typical social gaming experience one might find on other apps, but with an extremely tempting twist – players can redeem loyalty points, earned entirely through the app and without any purchase, for actual casino comps.
Since the vast majority of the participating partners are located in Las Vegas, Nevada residents stand to benefit more than anyone by playing these games.
MyVegas offers a wide variety of slots games, and the rewards system can be used to get reduced rates or comped meals, reduced or free hotel rooms, reduced or free show tickets, or even wagerable money in its partner casinos.
Las Vegas Monorail tickets and Maverick helicopter rides are also available, and points do not expire. The only limitation is that rewards can only be redeemed once every 90 calendar days (on a rolling basis from the date of last redemption). So Nevada residents, particularly those in the Las Vegas area, have an excellent opportunity to get a lot of bang for their buck, or even bang for no bucks whatsoever.
Station Casinos is a casino-operating company based in Las Vegas. Its primary shareholders and managers are Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta – two brothers with decades of experience owning and managing casinos.
The company owns and/or operates 21 properties in Nevada, California, and Michigan. Its most recent and notable acquisition was The Palms Casino Resort, which it bought last year from the Maloof brothers.
Station Casinos is notable for its market focus, which primarily serves the “locals” market in Las Vegas and other smaller Nevada towns. Strip casinos cater to tourists, especially high-rolling whales from the United States and Asia. However, residents of Las Vegas like to gamble too, and would prefer to do so without the glitter and chaos of the mega-resorts.
Although Station Casinos are nice, they cater to a more low-key crowd. Unsurprisingly, larger percentages of Station floors are dedicated to slot machines, which are preferred by patrons stopping in on the way home from work. In fact, as seen in the table above, the top two casinos in terms of slot machine square footage are Station properties.
The Fertittas are also entrepreneurs in other areas of entertainment.
Most notably, they purchased, owned, and recently sold the Ultimate Fighting Championship after building it (and by extension, the sport of mixed martial arts) from unlicensed human cockfighting to the respected and popular sport it is today.
Considering they sold the UFC to WME-IMG for $4 billion after purchasing it 16 years ago for a scant $2 million, it is clear that the brothers have an eye for investment in places where others may fear to tread or simply lack the vision to see.
State legal environment
|Permitted/Offered?||Notes & Restrictions|
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||First state in the US to legalize|
|Online Gambling||Yes||Restricted to online poker only|
|Lottery||No||Restriction is largely due to casino lobby; progressive jackpot slot machines function as surrogate lottery|
|Charitable or House-Based Gambling||Yes||Permitted as long as the organizer(s) take no cut of the wagers|
|Minimum Gambling Age||21; those under 21 are not even allowed inside the casinos, even if accompanied by someone of age|