Nevada Online Poker Site Reviews
Nevada was the first state in the U.S. to legalize and regulate online poker when Governor Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 258 into law on June 10, 2011. In late December of that year, the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved Regulation 5A, which set the rules for the industry, including operator licensing requirements. Though online poker was effectively outlawed in the United States with the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), the federal law did allow for states to individually legalize intrastate online poker in which the game would be available only to players located within state borders. As such, the hub of land-based gaming in the U.S. made the move to try to become the hub for online poker, as well.
In order to be granted a license to operate and online poker site, applicants must be established brick-and-mortar gaming companies that own a hotel with at least 200 rooms. Other entities, such as technology providers, can also apply for licenses and then partner with the main operator to get a site up and running. Operators must also have a number of consumer protections in place, including the ability for players to self-impose deposit and loss limits and self-exclude, easy access to dispute resolution information, and a 10 percent rake cap. Sites must keep a reserve of funds segregated from operating funds equal to the total player funds on deposit, may not extend credit to players, and may not allow player-to-player transfers.
Nevada law initially allowed for just intrastate online poker, limiting the player base to those people within the borders of the state, but in February 2013, the law was amended to allow the Governor to enter into interstate poker compacts. Thus, the potential player pool could expand outside the state’s borders if other states agree to team up with Nevada. As of March 2013, Delaware and New Jersey are the only other states to have legalized online poker.
A number of companies have received online poker licenses including such big names as MGM (Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, New York-New York), Caesars Interactive Entertainment (Rio, Paris, Caesars, Planet Hollywood), Golden Nugget, and Boyd Gaming (The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Fremont). Also already licensed are ACEP (Stratosphere), South Point, Fertitta Interactive, Lottomatica, Sartini Synergy, Monarch Interactive, WMS Gaming, Shuffle Master, Global Cash Access, IGT, and Bally Technologies. The aforementioned “big names” are likely to be the ones to be the major players, as they will have the best financial resources, name recognition, and marketing ability.
One of the more unique licensees is PokerTrip Enterprises, headed by 2006 WSOP bracelet winner Jon Friedberg. PokerTrip owns the sites AllVegasPoker.com and ThePokerAtlas.com, sites dedicated to providing information about land-based poker rooms and casinos. PokerTrip received Nevada’s first online poker affiliate license, aiming to become the go-to resource for players looking to read about the ins and outs of Nevada online poker rooms. Friedberg’s site will likely offer rewards such as deposit bonuses or hotel comps to players signing up through its links, though details of such rewards have yet to be released (nor has the site name).
As for when any Nevada online poker site will actually launch, that’s anybody’s guess. South Point Poker was the first to receive an operator license back in August 2012 and expected to go live in the fall of last year, but a longer than expected independent testing process of its custom software product have resulted in delays. If we had to wager a guess, as testing processes finish up with various licensees and a couple software providers receive their licenses, we’ll see a few sites roll out this calendar year.