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Nevada Casino and Card Room Gaming

Gambling was a part of the culture of Nevada even before it was a state. As a territory, Nevada passed laws that punished gambling harshly. But, even though the territory tried to control it, gaming still flourished. After the territory became a state in 1864, the Nevada legislature moved first to lessen punishments, and then to regulate. The 1869 legislature overrode the governor's veto and decriminalized many forms of gaming. Subsequent legislation attempted to control the negative effects of gambling. Between 1877 and 1907, regulations were passed that addressed gambling issues, such as locality, density and corruption. During that time, gambling became a steady source of revenue for the state.

In late 1910, anti-gambling forces thought they scored a victory by passing legislation that outlawed games of chance. But lax enforcement combined with creative work-arounds allowed gaming to continue.

New legislation in 1931 saw the emergence of the modernization of legalized gambling in the state. The reliance on gaming revenue for public welfare was apparent. In 1945, the Nevada Tax Commission was given responsibility for gambling, and by 1955 the Commission was granted far-reaching powers to administer the provisions of the 1931 Act. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) was created as its enforcement and investigative unit, yet this did not eliminate the problems afflicting the industry.

As a way of easing the industry of its difficulties, Governor Grant Sawyer asked the 1959 legislature to overhaul the gaming control structure. The result was the Nevada Gaming Control Act, passed on 30 March 1959. The act created the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) and assigned the NGCB as its audit and investigative arm, thus taking the Tax Commission out of gaming control. In March 1961, a Gaming Policy Board was approved by the legislature, giving the governor more authority over gaming. In 1993, the Nevada Racing Commission was eliminated and its responsibilities moved under the NGC.

Today, the NGC and the NGCB regulate the state's gaming industry. The NGC administers gaming regulations, grants licenses, collects state gaming taxes and fees, and rules on disciplinary matters brought by the NGCB. The gaming tax in Nevada is 6.75%.

Nevada has four distinct license groups for commercial casino operations: Restricted Licenses – an operation consisting of not more than 15 slot machines and no other game or gaming device; Non-Restricted License Group 1 – $3 million or more in revenue or an operation that consists primarily of a racebook or sports pool that accepts $50 million or more in wagers during the 12-month period ending June 30 each year; Non-Restricted License Group 2 – between $1 million and $3 million in revenue or an operation that consists primarily of a racebook or sports pool that accepts between $10 million and $50 million in wagers during the 12-month period ending June 30 each year; and Non-Restricted License Group 3 – $1 million or less in revenue or an operation that consists primarily of a racebook or sports pool that accepts less than $10 million in wagers during the 12-month period ending 30 June each year.

In June 2005, the Sparks City Council extended a ban on unrestricted gambling facilities outside the downtown area after a public protest against a proposed casino in Spanish Springs. The ban applied to new casinos without at least 200 hotel rooms.

In March 2006, Nevada became the first state in the nation to approve the use of handheld mobile gaming devices. With these devices, players are able to gamble in any public area of the state's casinos, including restaurants and poolside.

In November 2007, the Nevada State Education Association submitted a petition to increase the gaming tax rate by 3%. After prolonged negotiations and heavy lobbying from casino groups, in March 2009 Nevada legislators passed a revised bill mandating a 3% increase in the hotel room tax instead of the gaming tax.

In December 2008, the NGCB passed regulation changes for operators of private gaming salons. Under the former rules, players needed to open a minimum $500,000 credit line (or combination cash and credit line) and bet a minimum of $500 per hand. Under the new regulations, the minimum credit line (or credit and cash combination) was reduced to $300,000 and the minimum bet requirement was removed.

Under pressure from Nevada's big casinos, on 25 August 2011, the NGC amended Regulation 3(.015) Licensing Qualifications for (small) restricted license casinos. The amended regulation required "a bar, tavern, saloon or other similar location licensed to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink, for on-premises consumption" to have a permanent bar with seating for at least nine customers; maintain a contract or service agreement with a licensed liquor distributor; and house a restaurant. For licensees wanting more than four slot machines, the restaurant must have at least 2,000 square feet, seat at least 20 customers, and be open at least half of the hours as the location. To preserve their licenses, existing licensees were given up to two years (until 25 August 2013) in which to meet the new requirements. However, the revised regulation did provide for a waiver from the new requirements; all waivers were decided on a case-by-case basis. There is a limit of no more than seven slot machines at a convenience store and no more than four slot machines at a liquor store.

In 2013, Nevada adopted legislation that put more restrictions on licensing small slot arcades. The law, aimed largely at Dotty's slot parlors, requires operators applying for a restricted license for 15 or fewer slots to have a permanent physical bar and restaurant to host the slot machines. The location must be at least 2,500 square feet, with tables and booths in the restaurant seating a minimum of 25 people. Also, the restricted license locations would be barred from operating a racebook or a sports pool.

In 2014, The Cromwell (formerly Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon) and SLS Las Vegas (formerly the Sahara) opened their doors for business. The Cromwell is owned and operated by Caesars. SLS is owned by SBE Entertainment. The Rat Pack-era Sahara casino had been open for 59 years before closing its doors in 2011.

Also in 2014, Genting was given permission to begin construction on its $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas casino. The casino will sit on the site that used to house the Stardust Resort & Casino.

In spring 2015, a bill that would allow skill-based elements to be incorporated into slot machines passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval on 21 May.

Nevada Casino and Card Room Gaming Properties

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