It should come as no surprise that the state that started it all with respect to legal gambling should be one of the first to have legal online wagering. In the case of the State of Nevada, however, the only form of online gambling that is expressly legal is online poker rooms.
The online poker initiative met with only limited success as the first company, Ultimate Poker, folded in the face of competition from WSOP (World Series of Poker). In fact, WSOP and Real Gaming (backed by SouthPoint Casino) are the only two operators at this time with WSOP making up around 99% of the market.
Of course, the WSOP only deals in poker, which is the only patently legal and regulated form of online wagering in the State of Nevada. For anyone outside of the State of Nevada to accept a wager from someone within Nevada or for anyone within Nevada to make a wager outside of the state (which would presumably cover online wagering) the penalty is a misdemeanor:
"NRS 465.092 Accepting, receiving or allowing another to accept or receive wager from person physically present in this state prohibited under certain circumstances; penalty.
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 465.094, a person, alone or with others, shall not knowingly, within or outside of this state:
- Accept or receive, directly or indirectly, through any medium of communication a wager from another person who is physically present within this state; or
- Allow a lessee, agent or employee to accept or receive, directly or indirectly, through any medium of communication a wager from another person who is physically present within this state.
2. If a person engages in conduct in violation of subsection 1 and the person is outside of this state at the time of the offense:
- The offense shall be deemed to commence outside of this state;
- The offense shall be deemed to be consummated within this state; and
- The person may be prosecuted within this state pursuant to the provisions of NRS 171.015.
3. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
NRS 465.093 Placing, sending, transmitting or relaying wagers to another person prohibited under certain circumstances; penalty.
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 465.094, a person, alone or with others, shall not knowingly:
- From within this state, place, send, transmit or relay through a medium of communication a wager to another person or an establishment that is located within or outside of this state; or
- From outside of this state, place, send, transmit or relay through a medium of communication a wager to another person or an establishment that is located within this state.
2. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor."
In the State of Nevada, misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time of up to six months, or both.
There are other penalties that could possibly be added under different statutes of the law, such as this story in which an individual was charged with a felony (Class B) for running an illegal poker site within the State of Nevada:
Additionally, there has also been the usual smattering of individuals charged with running illegal bookmaking operations over the years.
However, we could find no incident of an individual being arrested or charged for merely playing at an online casino.
In conclusion, we will take into account that it is patently illegal to accept or make any bets outside of the State of Nevada which is a Misdemeanor for both those making the bets and those accepting them. It also appears that there are additional sections of the law that can result in trouble for operators. That is only partially offset by the fact that Nevada does have licensed and regulated poker rooms, and the reason that is only a partial offset is because no games besides poker are available.
Ultimately, we are going to classify Nevada as, ‘Lightly,’ restrictive. While a mere player could theoretically get in trouble for playing at a non-licensed website, there is no evidence tro suggest that ever has happened and we doubt if it ever will.
FINAL RANKING: Lightly Restrictive: 8
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