Nevada’s laws allowing sports betting were the first to be passed in the U.S. In the more than 70 years since, the legislation has evolved into a potpourri of various policies and amendments added throughout the decades, some of which make more sense than others.
Although gambling is legal and encouraged in the state, it’s far from a free-for-all potluck where anything goes. The detailed regulations are strictly enforced, and you can get into trouble if you try to wager outside the lines.
Nevada first made general gambling legal in 1931 in an attempt to wiggle out from under the thumb of the Great Depression, which was in full force at the time. Almost 20 years later, they finally extended the regulation to cover sports betting, which was legalized statewide in 1949.
In 2010, as the internet started to become ubiquitous, Nevada officially legalized online sportsbooks. By 2013, all forms of online gambling were legal, including poker and other interactive games.
Today, you can legally bet online on almost any sport but only via an app after an in-person registration process. This means that none of Nevada’s sportsbooks allow betting through a website on your desktop computer. You must use a smartphone or tablet to place online sports bets.
All sports betting apps have to work in conjunction with a sportsbook that has a physical location. This is to help verify customer fidelity when opening a new account, and it also helps keep sports betting in orbit around the casino scene. Anyone who wants to use a sports betting app in Nevada has to pay a visit to one of the app’s brick-and-mortar partners to sign up and deposit their first balance face to face.
If you prefer to place your bets in person, the entire state is stuffed full of casinos and racetracks that run legal sportsbooks. The Las Vegas Strip is at the center of these, with miles of casinos and their sportsbooks, one after the other.
Most sporting events are fair game to bet on in Vegas. The law only prohibits “amateur non-collegiate sport or athletic” events. This is meant mostly to exempt minors playing high school sports from betting pressures. The law was worded that way to also prohibit betting on certain Olympic sports.
While some states have betting taxes as high as 10%, the state of Nevada only imposes a 6.75% tax on gross revenue made from sports betting. There’s also a federal handle tax of 0.25%.