Confidentiality statute keeps Nevada online poker market a mystery

Why Is There So Much Secrecy Around Nevada Online Poker Revenue?

Online poker was one of the few forms of gambling available during April, with all 989 US casinos closed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Those shutdowns drove significant growth in iGaming revenue for Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. But we don’t really know what it did for Nevada.

Despite being the first US state enabling legislation, we have almost no direct insight into the size of the NV online poker market.

The reason for the secrecy is twofold.

Nevada online poker revenue remains unavailable

The obvious reason we can’t determine online poker revenue in Nevada is that regulators don’t itemize it in their monthly reports. Data for brick-and-mortar and online poker is reported together.

Online sports betting revenue was also shrouded in secrecy until the beginning of this year when the Nevada Gaming Control Board finally started to break out mobile share.

WSOP NV is the only active poker site, however, so the state can’t legally break those figures out. Nevada gambling laws permit operators to keep their individual financial records private.

Here’s the relevant part of NRS 463.120:

6. Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, if any applicant or licensee provides or communicates any information and data to an agent or employee of the Board or Commission in connection with its regulatory, investigative or enforcement authority:
(a) All such information and data are confidential and privileged[…]

There is a second licensed online poker operator in the state — Real Gaming, licensed with South Point — but regulators told OPR that it reported no activity in April.

WSOP does not make its monthly revenue public, so the Nevada market remains a mystery.

That confidentiality statute also kept regulators from reporting sports betting revenue for the month. Since there were no land-based card games in April, standard reporting would have made it possible to implicitly calculate online poker revenue.

With casinos closed, online gambling surges

Online gambling revenue has surged since the pandemic shut down retail casinos and sports. All regulated US markets posted record reports in April as gamblers were left with no choice but to play online.

It wasn’t just slots or blackjack that saw the big growth, either. Online poker revenue ramped up in all three states.

  • Pennsylvania has just one online poker operator in PokerStars PA. Its rake and fees jumped 67.7% to $5.3 million in April compared with March.
  • New Jersey operators combined for a record $5.1 million in April revenue. That’s up 42% from March and more than three times better than last April.
  • Delaware saw online poker revenue increase 45.7% to $84,034 compared with March.

While we don’t know the specific figures, we do know Nevada’s online poker market wasn’t as robust as New Jersey or Pennsylvania in April. Poker and sports betting revenue combined to total $3.6 million in April, according to the state report.

- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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