Tag: Nevada

Gambling Professionals In Nevada Can File For State Unemployment


The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country. Every industry is affected by business closures and there are record numbers of people being furloughed or laid off. Due to these times, even professional gamblers in Nevada are now allowed to file for unemployment.

From Las Vegas to Reno and everywhere in between there are more than 200 casinos in the state of Nevada that will remain closed until April 30 or later to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The 206,000 casino employees aren’t the only people feeling the effect of the closures.

Professional gamblers are feeling the pinch as well. Poker players don’t have a venue to make a living. Sports bettors only have four sports betting apps with limited wagering options available. Blackjack and other advantage gamblers don’t have casinos in Nevada and around the country to use their skills.

Unemployment for Nevada gamblers

Gambling isn’t a traditional job but it’s a way for some Nevada residents to make a living. Normally professional gamblers wouldn’t be able to file for unemployment — but these aren’t normal times. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, professional gamblers may qualify as independent contractors or self-employed under the CARES Act for the time being.

Professional poker player Chris Konvalinka tells the newspaper “I’m going to give it a shot.” In true poker player lingo, he went on to say that “It seems like a freeroll to me. Worst case, they say no.”

Anecdotally, only about 1% of all gamblers consider themselves professionals. An even smaller portion of those gamblers are full-time professionals. A portion of professional gamblers keep a regular day job while using their gambling skills part-time.

Many full-time professional gamblers are truly self-employed and report income and file taxes just like many freelancers who work for themselves. As Konvalinka said, this is a freeroll to make up for revenue lost while the casinos are closed and sports betting options are limited.

Gambling in Nevada during the quarantine

Gambling options for professional and recreational gamblers in Nevada during the quarantine are limited. Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered all casinos and non-essential businesses to close until at least April 30. Additionally, all gaming machines have been turned off. This means that not even slot machines inside essential businesses like supermarkets are available.

There’s only one gambling option for table game players. World Series of Poker‘s web site is open for poker players throughout the Silver State. The games at WSOP include a pool of players beyond Nevada. The website allows players from New Jersey, Delaware, and, of course, Nevada.

Most professional sports leagues remain closed so the options for sports bettors are very limited. Placing wagers on future events is always popular but not everyone wants to tie their money up for months in something that may or may not take place.

There are still a few sports to wager on such as esports, table tennis, UFC, and small division international soccer, hockey, and basketball. Some sportsbook operators even offer in-play wagering for select events.

Sports bettors in Nevada still have access to a few sportsbooks that are active because of their mobile sports wagering apps:

  • BetMGM
  • Caesars
  • Circa Sports
  • William Hill

Only players with an existing account can wager. Three of the four apps accept mobile deposits for anyone looking to wager on current and future events. Circa Sports is the only Nevada sports wagering app that doesn’t accept deposits outside of the casino.


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Revised Nevada Sports Betting Data Could Reveal Deeper Revenue Breakdown


Nevada was once the only face on the Mount Rushmore of US sports betting. 

When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed in 2018, some thought this stature could change as more sports betting markets launched around the US.  

It won’t be a surprise when more populous states with major markets surpass the Silver State’s sports betting handle. For the time being, Nevada remains the top dog when it comes to the amount of sports wagers. Nevada even broke a new record when it took in $614.1 million in wagers in November.

But New JerseyPennsylvania and other new legal sports betting states are gaining traction. Besides increasing pressure on Nevada’s handle, the competition is pushing NV gaming regulators and sportsbooks to stay up on technology. We’ll get back to that in a bit, but let’s first look at mobile sports betting in Nevada overall.

Mobile sports wagering in Nevada

Nevada has offered mobile sports betting since 2012. However, its sportsbook operators are slipping behind newcomers in terms of technology. 

For starters, mobile bettors in NJ and PA can sign up for a sports wagering account without ever stepping into a brick-and-mortar casino. Nevada still requires in-person registration, and PA and NJ sportsbooks offer new players the ability to sign up online. 

It’s no coincidence, then, that mobile and online wagering in these states has taken off quickly. More than 80% of handle in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is from online and mobile wagering. 

PA and NJ both share their revenue reports monthly (by the states’ gaming control boards.) While Nevada has been offering mobile wagering for more than seven years, its numbers have all been anecdotal. 

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) doesn’t offer official information like the states that recently started taking online sports wagers. However, that could be changing soon.

Nevada considers changes to sports betting revenue reporting

NGCB Senior Research Analyst Michael Lawton recently told CDC Gaming Reports that the board hopes to provide reports on separate mobile and retail sports betting in the new year.

These numbers will provide greater context to compare Nevada sports betting revenue with other states. 

For reference, Lawton estimates that 48% of Nevada sports bets in 2018 were from mobile devices. That’s not too much of a surprise as anecdotally different sportsbooks have been saying mobile handle is anywhere from 35% to 60%

The sports betting handle in NV will be easier to compare with other states starting with its January 2020 report.

Baby steps to new reporting

Every state with legal sports betting has its own set of rules, and Nevada isn’t any different.  However, Nevada has a history with casino operators, so it must keep these companies in mind on how to approach all forms of gaming.

Nevada hasn’t been under pressure to change how it does business until now

Since the repeal of PASPA, there’s more national focus on the US sports betting industry. With all eyes watching, Nevada has to be as concerned with perception as it is gaming revenue.

Nobody wants to be seen as a relic. This small change to revenue reporting is a small step for Nevada to stay in line with the newcomers. It likely won’t be the only change.

More possible changes for Nevada sports betting

Most of the Nevada sports betting apps use technology from MiomniStadium Technology or both. 

If the Silver State wants to keep up with the competition, this will have to change, too. New Jersey and Pennsylvania host more sports betting technology companies that offer better (and worse) platforms than in Nevada.

The NGCB appears to be taking another step in the right direction. 

It recently gave preliminary approval to MGM Resorts and its sports betting partner, GVC, to operate BetMGM. The venture only operates in New Jersey right now. Once this receives full support, BetMGM will replace the current IGT-powered PlayMGM app.

Another huge step forward will be when the NGCB allows mobile registration on sports betting apps. Currently, anyone who wants to set up a sports betting account must do so at a Nevada sportsbook, which is inside of a casino. 

Mobile registration will allow customers to register from anywhere within Nevada state lines. Bettors could also use a credit card, debit card, or other online payment solution.

Once mobile sign-up comes to fruition, FanDuel could launch with its Boyd Gaming partnership. This shift could also open the door for other online sportsbook operators, including DraftKings and PointsBet.

With every advancement, Nevada could remain atop the sports betting landscape.


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