Online Poker Report

Online Poker Nevada

Nevada is one of three states to offer legal us poker sites. While in Nevada, you can legally play online poker at WSOP.com which is regulated by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

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Latest Nevada online poker news

Nevada launches first regulated US online poker site

On December 23, 2011 — just seven months after Black Friday ravaged the US online poker industry — the Department Of Justice publicly released a legal opinion stating that online poker did not constitute a violation of the Wire Act.

This historical ruling effectively gave the thumbs up to legislators who wished to enact licensing and regulatory procedures for online poker.

It didn’t take long for Nevada to get on board. In fact, the Nevada Gaming Commission had approved draft regulations authorizing online poker the very same week that the DOJ released its opinion.

Nevada’s regulations paved the way for future legislation, covering finer points such as:

  • Underage gambling
  • Responsible gambling
  • Identity and financial protection
  • Technical, including geolocation, protocols

Because these safeguards were absent from the U.S. industry previously, fraud, cheating and misrepresentation of funds were commonplace — that would no longer be the case in the regulated era.

More than one year would pass before Nevada lawmakers looked at online poker. On February 21, 2013, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 114 into law. The bill legalized online poker within Nevada’s borders in the absence of federal intervention, and also cleared a path for interstate liquidity compacts.

Two months later, on April 30, Ultimate Poker made history as the first regulated online poker site to accept real-money players. Ultimate Poker was a majority-owned subsidiary of Stations Casinos, a company most well-known for operating a host of locals casinos in the Las Vegas area.

The new site also served as the official and exclusive online gambling partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Both Stations and the UFC heavily marketed its new home-grown online poker site to the masses, as least in its early days.

How has the Nevada online poker market evolved since launch?

In the three years plus that Nevada has offered legal online poker, the industry has undergone a litany of changes. The first, and perhaps the most noteworthy, occurred in September 2013, when WSOP.com entered the market.

WSOP goes online, and quickly ascends to market share lead

WSOP.com, officially went live on September 19, 2013. It wouldn’t be long before it became the go-to site for online poker players situated in Nevada.

The backing of arguably the biggest name in land-based casino gaming in Caesars, combined with the brand recognition of the World Series of Poker, and a client powered by online gaming behemoth 888, proved to be a potent combination.

If that weren’t already enough, WSOP.com would soon strengthen its position in the U.S. by launching as part of the first wave of regulated online poker sites in New Jersey.

According to Poker Industry Pro (paywall) via online traffic tracking site PokerScout.com, it only took six weeks for WSOP NV to erase the gap between itself and Ultimate Poker. In early November 2013, a new market share king was crowned.

Ultimate didn’t exactly help its own cause. The software was riddled with technical failings, and lacked many of the features players had become accustomed to in the pre-Black Friday days. It also offered fewer cash game variants and smaller tournament guarantees than its rival.

A stellar customer service offering and a timely sponsorship deal with then rising star Jason Somerville helped to slow the bleeding, but that hardly proved enough to prevent WSOP NV from extending its lead throughout late 2013 and into 2014.

In June 2014, WSOP NV experienced its best month ever, thanks largely to the presence of the live Series in Las Vegas and the site’s own cross-promotional efforts. Every summer since, the site has bucked the seasonal downtrend that plagues the online poker industry during the warmer months.

Real Gaming throws a party, and no one shows up

A third online poker site, the South Point-backed Real Gaming, launched in February 2014. The move struck as somewhat odd, as the Nevada market was hardly capable of sustaining two online poker operators, let alone a third and unproven entry.

Not surprisingly, Real Gaming struggled right from the start, and although the site is still operational today, it’s traffic remains negligible.

On an interesting side, there was once the possibility of up to six online poker rooms in the Nevada market. The notion that new operators could thrive in a market barely capable of sustaining two active sites was far-fetched.

It appears that the potential operators realized this, and (wisely) abandoned their plans.

Ultimate Poker shutters its doors

In November 2014, some 19 months after becoming the first U.S. regulated sites, Ultimate Poker decided to pull out of the Nevada market.

The move came as little surprise, as two months earlier Ultimate ceased operations in New Jersey, where it was a perennial basement dweller behind more recognizable brands.

The operator cited the challenging operating environment as the reason behind its departure.

At the time, cash game liquidity was split approximately 60-40 between WSOP NV and Ultimate Poker. In the wake of UP’s departure, WSOP NV launched a marketing campaign centered on attracting former Ultimate players.

WSOP’s aggressive stance combined with its newly-minted monopoly position in the Nevada market led to traffic rising 60 percent from mid-November to mid-December 2014.

The Nevada-Delaware interstate compact

On February 25, 2014, Nevada and Delaware entered into the U.S regulated market’s first interstate liquidity pact. The agreement, signed by Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, was originally supposed to go live in the summer of 2014.

But so-called “technical glitches” resulted in numerous delays, and it wasn’t until March 2015 that the agreement went live.

As per the agreement, operators had to have been licensed in both states. Luckily, 888 operates all three skins on the Delaware poker network, and provides the WSOP.com platform in New Jersey and Nevada.

For Nevada, the pact represented little more than a symbolic victory, as Delaware’s player pool was but a tiny fraction of its own. It is unlikely that NV players even noticed the addition of the Delaware pool.

On the flip side, the pact was a boon for Delaware players, who suddenly saw traffic increase by a multiple of twenty. The NV-DE pact was also significant in that it set the groundwork for future pacts, of which there have been talks, but no action.

The WSOP.com Online Bracelet event

WSOP NV made history in July 2015 when it hosted the first online bracelet event. The $1,000 entry tournament saw players battle down to six players online. Then, the final six combatants convened at the Rio for the live final table.

The event was an unprecedented success, generating the largest prize pool by far in U.S. regulated online poker history ($859,750). That mark stood for exactly one year, when it was outdone by the second running of the event.

How could the Nevada market improve?

The Nevada market, which is now nearly synonymous with WSOP.com, is in a much better place than it was at launch:

  • There are more cashiering options to choose from, and payment processing acceptance rates are way up.
  • The software is less prone to crashes, and geo-location technology has improved.
  • Liquidity rose from 2014 – 2015, and has now stabilized at a healthy point, given the small size of the Nevada market.
  • Both the quantity and quality of promotional offerings have improved.

Still, there is plenty of room for improvement:

  • The version of the 888 platform utilized by WSOP NV is somewhat antiquated, lacking many of the features more modern international platforms have incorporated.
  • There isn’t much in the way of game selection. Part of this is a byproduct of operating in a low liquidity market. However, in order to attract net depositing players, 888 may want to consider adding its lottery sng variant to the WSOP.com lobby.
  • The cash game rake tends toward the higher side.
  • WSOP NV’s ability to grow in the current regulated climate is very limited. Only one other state outside of the NV-DE network (New Jersey) has regulated online poker, and it has shown little pressing desire to share liquidity with the less populated Nevada.

What are the future prospects for online poker in NV?

In a best case scenario, by the end of 2017, Nevada will have linked up with either New Jersey or one of the other states on the precipice of legalizing online poker (Pennsylvania, New York).

A compact with any one of these states would grow average traffic by a multiple of three, if not more. At that point, new playing options, such as fast-fold and mixed games, would become viable.

It would also open the door for players to compete for the online bracelet across state lines — to date, a World Series of Poker bracelet event has never been held, either in full or in part, outside of Las Vegas.

Another possibility is that PokerStars enters the Nevada market. The world’s market share leader is currently serving a five year “bad actor” ban in Nevada, which is set to expire in February 2018.

And while the operator will likely have no desire to enter Nevada if the state doesn’t already share liquidity with a more populated jurisdiction(s), the entry of PokerStars and its superior platform would force WSOP NV to up the ante, much as it has in the New Jersey market.

In this scenario, it’s the players that will benefit most.

NV Online Poker FAQ

What are the requirements for playing on WSOP.com in Nevada?

Admittedly, the signup process at legal, regulated online poker sites in Nevada is a bit more tedious than players who frequent offshore sites will be used to.

That said, the financial and personal safeguards employed by regulated sites more than makes up any momentary inconvenience.

To signup for real-money play on WSOP.com in Nevada, players must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age. This is the same age required to gamble at a brick and mortar casino located in Nevada.
  • Provide some sensitive information, including a full nine digit social security number.
  • Offer other information, such as a residency address, date of birth and and the answer to a security question.
  • Be able to pass verification checks, confirming all of the above. All information is run through external database to confirm validity.

Do note, that WSOP NV registrants are not required to have a residency address in Nevada, nor are they required to signup from the Silver State. However, in order to play for real-money, players must be physically located within the state’s confines.

How does the online poker site know if a player is in Nevada?

A combination of checks are instituted to verify if a player is located in Nevada at the time of login:

  • The first is a simple IP address check, which locates the origin of a player’s Internet connection.
  • Cell phones are pinged by cell towers to determine an approximate location. This is known as cell phone triangulation.
  • The software checks to see what wireless internet connections are within close proximity of the login location.

Geo-location technology is vastly improved since first adapted by Nevada’s regulated sites, especially with regards to mobile. Now, players connected to the Internet via wireless or 4G LTE should have little trouble logging on and staying connected to the WSOP.com software.

How many online poker sites are accepting new signups?

Technically, two — although the only viable option for players is WSOP.com. The other regulated site, Real Gaming, is lucky to get one full table off at peak hours.

What depositing methods are available on WSOP NV? Withdrawal methods?

WSOP NV accepts the following deposit methods:

  • Instant eChecks (ACH)
  • Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Neteller
  • 7-Eleven PayNearMe
  • Cash at the casino cage (Caesars, Harrahs, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Rio All-Suite)  — must provide a valid government ID.

There are fewer withdrawal methods, but still enough options to satisfy the majority of players:

  • Instant eChecks (ACH)
  • Check by mail
  • Cash at the cage (five Caesars locations in Las Vegas)

Considering that most of Nevada’s online poker players are located in and around the Las Vegas area, the cash at the casino cage option is more viable than it is in NJ, where the main population centers are located a two hour drive away from Atlantic City.

Can players deposit from outside of Nevada?

Yes, although they will not be able to wager funds unless they are physically located in the state of Nevada. Withdrawals can also be processed from out-of-state.

Do Nevada poker rooms share player pools with any other state or country?

At present, WSOP NV shares its player pool with three networked 888-branded sites operating in Delaware. The interstate compact went live in March 2015, but barely had an impact on Nevada market traffic.

What games are available on WSOP NV?

Cash games run the gamut from traditional No-Limit Hold’em games to Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, with stakes ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10 and above.

The site also offers six and nine man sit & goes (although no lottery sngs), guaranteed tournaments, satellites into live World Series of Poker events and other events, and daily freerolls.

During regular weeks, tournament prize pools cap out at around $30,000, but WSOP NV has hosted its fair share of special events where the prize pool was over $100,000.

Has Nevada legalized online casino games?

In a very limited capacity, yes.

In July 2016, MGM Resorts International launched an app, approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, that allows resort visitors to participate in scheduled online slot tournaments. Players can also participate from InteractivePro Tables installed at MGM’s nine Las Vegas locations.

Users must be hooked into MGM’s wireless portal in order to take part in its tournaments.

It is believed that the MGM app is a stepping stone toward a more comprehensive online casino roll-out in Nevada, similar to the one operating in New Jersey. In May, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee met to discuss the idea, and plans to examine online gambling products more closely in the near future.

MGM is also looking to expand its platform.

At this juncture, expansion into a full online casino offering seems likely.