For the second consecutive month, Nevada‘s statewide gaming win broke the billion-dollar threshold, thanks to Chinese New Year falling in February this year rather than January as it did last year. The take was $1,017,914,000, up nearly 8% from the same month last year and beat January 2018 numbers by $2.89 million.
While the numbers were all over the board with modest increases and declines in all nearly all categories, the Strip buoyed the aggregate number with an astounding 82.5% increase in baccarat wins clocking in $79.7 million for the month.
While sportsbooks continued a more than 4 year month to month winning streak, February was not kind to the books showing a nearly 50% decline over the same month last year. American football wagering took in less than $2.5m for the month, a decline of nearly 140% compared to February 2017.
The Strip baccarat numbers helped to lift all table games statewide with blackjack, craps, and roulette all posting significantly lower numbers lead in the downswing by blackjack with players leaving only $88m on the tables.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board lumps the state’s 60 poker rooms and one online poker site into Card Games in their Gaming Revenue Reports, and further doesn’t post numbers separately for the WSOP online poker site.
While there are no online casinos licensed by the state, a law was passed in 2011 that would specifically allow them. The Nevada Gaming Commission was required to pass regulations governing online play by January 1, 2012. Although they established the framework for online casinos (pdf), they only wrote rules for online poker, quietly leaving out mechanisms in the regulatory framework needed to establish online casinos.
New Jersey took a different approach and in November 2013 did a soft launch of casinos with poker rooms and by the end of December more than 100,000 people had created online accounts inside the state. In February 2018, online operators in NJ posted a total gaming win of $21,992,124 for the month with about 10% of that coming from poker.
While Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and now Pennsylvania have relied on a USDOJ opinion from late 2011 that stated the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sports betting, all have been cautious in how they believe it affects them. While the DOJ decision did not say anything about interstate vs intrastate operations, each restricts play to people logging in from within their own borders. The only current interstate play is in shared liquidity poker player pools.
Players across all of Europe and elsewhere are fortunate to have access to hundreds or perhaps thousands of highly regulated online casinos. The Gambling Commission in the UK and the Malta Gaming Authority oversee all aspects of online casinos operating in their jurisdictions and are constantly updating regulations and requirements. Consumer protection is a major priority with regular compliance assessments and corrections.
While the online and Las Vegas experiences are quite different, they are much less so now that live dealer streams are available at most major sites. Today, players in regulated jurisdictions can place a baccarat bet on a live table using any mobile device or computer with a web browser. Ease of access, table limits, the choice of a favorite dealer, and chatting with other players bring the experiences closer together today than they ever have been before.
For now, US players will have to travel to New Jersey, Delaware, and soon Pennsylvania to play online in a licensed and regulated casino.