Nevada Regulators To Consider Online Casinos

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has scheduled an informational hearing to weigh the pros and cons of scrapping a longstanding rule that permits remote poker and sports betting but prohibits casino-style games.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has scheduled an informational hearing for May 13 that could lead to the demise of a regulatory ban on online casino gambling in the state.

The hearing will explore 15 amendments to Gaming Regulation 5A, as it’s known, that include the deletion of “provisions limiting interactive gaming to the game of poker, substituting it with “all games offered on an interactive gaming system” and amending “authorized player requirements” to allow remote registration rather than in-person at a casino as required currently.

Nevada has offered online poker and sports betting for years as part of an enabling act that passed the state legislature in 2013 and was broadly written to include all “online gambling,” leaving the details to the regulators.

Opposition from the land-based industry, which feared the competition, induced the Control Board to exclude blackjack, roulette, craps, slot machines and other casino-style games when Regulation 5A was written.

Remote registration to bet on sports was opposed as well over concerns about gamblers continuing to come through the doors.

But case studies now indicate that much of the fear is unfounded. New Jersey, especially, proved the sector’s value as a backup for the retail industry during the Covid crisis, and Atlantic City’s casinos have fared better with a complementary online product than without it. It’s been pretty much the same in neighboring Pennsylvania and in Michigan, to cite two other examples.

Implementing full online casino games would take a vote from both the three-member Control Board and the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission.

This week’s hearing, as such, will merely be seeking input from gaming operators and other stakeholders for discussion purposes, and it’s not known when, or if, any direct action will result.