Nevada Online Poker Review: Las Vegas Sands Controversy, NGCB Licenses, Traffic, and more

Written By Steve Ruddock on April 9, 2014
nevada online gambling news legal regulation revenue

Nevada is fast approaching it’s one-year anniversary of legalized online poker, but that doesn’t mean everything has fallen into place without issue, or that the industry is now on secure footing.

Setting aside the operational and technical issues the online poker industry has faced, there is also the ever-present storm cloud of Sheldon Adelson hanging over the industry, although a number of chinks in the armor are starting to appear that are making Adelson’s anti-online gambling crusade look more like the last stand of the 300 than Operation Overlord.

In this week’s installment of the Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll take a look at a bit of defiance from the Sands Board of Directors; see which six casinos were granted extensions by the NGCB; take a historical look at Nevada Gaming revenue; and a whole lot more, including the latest traffic trends and tournament results.

Sands board member now iGaming shareholder

Well isn’t this an interesting wrinkle!

Apparently one of the members of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors, Jason Ader, has recently become the second largest shareholder of, one of the giants of the online gambling industry, and a company that is licensed in New Jersey as an online gambling site.

Las Vegas Sands is of course owned by Sheldon Adelson, the Sheldon Adelson who is currently spending millions of dollars to repeal online gambling in the United States, which will likely make the next Sands board meeting quite interesting.

Perhaps Ader is simply taking a contrarian stance, or perhaps he realizes Adelson’s efforts to ban online gambling are futile. Either way it makes for an interesting debate and is yet another interesting addition to the already tangled plot line that is online gambling in the US.

6 Casinos receive online poker extensions

As we reported earlier this week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) extended the licenses for six Nevada casinos, allowing them to continue to develop their online poker products (if they choose to do so) without having to renew their license applications… a renewal process that would have come with a six-figure price tag.

Here are the six casinos that received online poker license extensions in Nevada:

  • Boomtown Reno Truckstop
  • Grand Siena (Reno)
  • LV Golden Nugget
  • MGM Resorts
  • Z4Poker
  • Boyd Interactive Gaming

You can read our entire write up on this story here.

A Historical look at gambling revenue in Nevada

With the Nevada Gaming Control Board finally releasing data on online poker revenue, which is currently looking like a $150 million a year industry based on the revenue numbers (Nevada’s cut of that revenue will be about $10 million per year) I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the bigger picture of the revenue generated by the casino industry in the state.

Based on the following numbers, the online poker revenues being generated in the state are a mere drop in the bucket, but with revenues down $2.5 billion from their peak in 2007, every hundred million counts!

  • 2001 — $9.3 Billion
  • 2002 — $8.9 Billion
  • 2003 — $9.2 Billion
  • 2004 — $9.9 Billion
  • 2005 — $10.5 Billion
  • 2006 — $11.8 Billion
  • 2007 — $12.5 Billion
  • 2008 — $12 Billion
  • 2009 — $10.5 Billion
  • 2010 — $9.9 Billion
  • 2011 — $10.1 Billion
  • 2012 — $9.9 Billion
  • 2013 — $10.1 Billion

You can find more historical gaming data at UNLV’s Nevada Revenue page.

Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada Sunday $15K Guaranteed

A really strong turnout of 110 players registered for the $15k Guaranteed at this past Sunday, creating a prize-pool of $22,000. Considering the recent turnouts the site may want to consider bumping the guarantee up to $20,000.

Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:

  1. Kudos88 – $6,160
  2. Ponzi_Scheme – $3,564
  3. BeTheLight – $2,046
  4. ValueTown – $1,606
  5. tedlawson4 – $1,386
  6. BShriever5 – $1,166
  7. T54-T97s – $924
  8. PokerStars – $616
  9. Pweda287 – $462

WSOP Main Event Satellite

For the first week since it has been offered, the satellite to the World Series of Poker Main Event didn’t offer an overlay, as a total of 55 players registered for the tournament, creating a prize-pool of $11,000:

  1. 1more1time — $10,000 seat to the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event
  2. BShriver5 — $1,000

The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker

While saw a nice uptick in tournament attendance it seems to have come at the expense of Ultimate Poker, which saw just 88 players register for their $10K Guaranteed tournament this past Sunday, which meant an overlay of nearly $2,000.

For the second time in three weeks William Reynolds managed to make the final table, this time finishing in 6th place.

  1. DWade420 – $2,900
  2. I Love Beer – $2,000
  3. HM2BC – $1,500
  4. donthavename – $1,000
  5. LadyFingers – $800
  6. ReynoldsXO – $600
  7. INtheMOMENT– $500
  8. JCarver – $400
  9. BrownPride – $300

Traffic trends in Nevada

After a few months of steady decline there is finally a bit of good news coming out of Nevada as average cash-game traffic at has ticked back up to 110 players after dipping below 100 just two weeks ago according to’s data.

Ultimate Poker also saw some small gains for the second straight week as the site now boasts average cash gamed traffic of 75 players.

South Point’s Real Gaming online poker site continues to be a complete non-factor in the market with average traffic still sitting at 0 — although the site is still in a testing period and hasn’t been marketed at all at this point.

Overall, Nevada’s online cash-game traffic is once again approaching 200 players.

The word on the street

Culinary Union okay’s strike

Last week we told you that the Culinary Union had authorized a strike of Downtown Las Vegas Casino, and this week the picket lines began as the Las Vegas Sun reported.

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out, as it could be bad for both sides.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve is a well-recognized voice in the regulated U.S. online gambling industry. He writes for a number of online and print publications including, USA Today, and others, with a focus on the legal market.

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