Nevada gaming board wants to expand online gambling to include casino games

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 05/05/2021

The Nevada Gaming Control Board opened the floor to the public for comments on its amended regulations today. The new regulations include parameters that allow for “non-peer-to-peer gaming.” i.e. games played against the house, rather than other players.

Nevada is the home of Las Vegas, Reno, and myriad smaller gambling centers. But if you don’t — or won’t — drive to a casino, then your options for gambling are limited. The only regulated online gambling in-state is online poker and online sports betting. No online table games. No online slots.

The proposed amendments to Regulation 5A have a number of smaller consequences. For example, they adjust the restrictions on “using celebrity players.” And they create the rules for “the adoption and use of a Commission seal.”

But the main thrust of the amendments is to allow casino games into the online space. This will “remove the provisions limiting interactive gaming to the game of poker.”

If these amendments get through, people inside the Nevadan borders will be able to put it all on red from the comfort of their La-Z-boys.

Why now?

Nevada is the gambling capital of the world. The state legalized medical marijuana as far back as 1998 and is home to the only taxable brothels in the United States. It seems odd that it should get puritanical when it comes to online gambling.

But, the NGCB has always been a bit leery of upsetting the powerful meatspace gambling businesses. Too much of the state’s taxable revenue comes from the physical casinos of the strip. Serving up competition from cyberspace would count as very upsetting.

After a year in which the U.S. became a plague ship, cutting off from the flow of tourists into the state, the strip has lost a bit of its monopoly on Nevada’s economic paradigm. It is clear the state needs to diversify. And online gambling is a pretty good hedge against pandemics.

Sheldon Adelson’s death is probably another factor. He passed — largely unmourned by the poker community — in January of 2021.

Adelson spent a great deal of time and money minimizing the reach of online gambling in the U.S. His campaigning against online poker put a lot of poker pros out of a job.

He did so in order to protect his brick-and-mortar holdings. Adelson has only been in the ground since January. Still, Nevada’s politicians seem to be feeling a little freer already. They no longer have to chase Adelson’s campaign donations in order to stay viable.

The odds are that online gambling in the state will end up being tied to brick and mortar concerns either way. So in the end, everyone wins.

Except the players. After all, someone’s gotta pay the vig.

Featured image source: Flickr by Free Images