Leave Extra Time to Place Sportsbook Bets in Las Vegas

Circa sportsbook at CircaCirca Sportsbook inside Circa Casino in downtown Las Vegas in August 2023 (Kristina Mehaffey/Advantage Media)

Las Vegas hosts the Super Bowl this weekend. Massive crowds are expected. Over 300,000 people will be in town for it. About one-third of those visitors will be at Allegiant Stadium during the game. It is important to note how Nevada online sports betting is different than it is in any other state.

You will need to create an account at a sportsbook

If you have never placed a bet on mobile devices in Nevada, you must visit a retail sportsbook first. This requires an old-school process of filling out paperwork and verifying your ID. Having an account in another state does not get around this. Nevada is ringfenced from all other markets. You will not be able to place a bet until you do this.

It is especially inconvenient for those who arrive close to the Super Bowl kickoff. Expect lines to be long. It is best if you do this as soon as possible.

Serious players will have other problems. If you want to open accounts at multiple sportsbooks, this could take hours. If you have a car, it is best if you drive to the locals market or downtown to open accounts. Sportsbooks on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip will be especially busy. 

This is an intentional inconvenience created by Nevada casinos and regulators. It hurts action, especially during major events. We wrote about it here and at the Nevada Independent

Several major national sportsbooks aren’t available in Nevada

Nevada has a protectionist sports betting market. DraftKings and FanDuel are the two largest online sportsbooks in the United States. Neither are licensed in Nevada. 

There is a FanDuel location at Fremont in downtown Las Vegas. However, it is just a branding deal. There is no FanDuel app in the state. Boyd, which partners with FanDuel in all other states, operates an in-house sportsbook in Nevada. While ESPN Bet is partnered with Penn Gaming, which owns M Resort, it is also not available in Nevada. 

Deposit options are limited

National brands accept a variety of deposit methods in other states. That is not the case in Nevada. It still operates the old-fashioned way. When you open your account at the counter, cash is the deposit method. Some apps offer limited other options. You may be able to use the Play+ debit card, credit cards, and debit cards. PayNearMe is another option. However, it only accepts cash, and if you have that, just give it to the sportsbook’s counter employee. William Hill has kiosks in taverns for customers who already have open accounts. Once again, it is cash-only.

You will run into the same problem when trying to withdraw. If you can’t make it back to the counter for cash before leaving, you may need to wait for a check by mail, though Play+ is now widely used for cashouts.

There are few new player promotions in Nevada

One major difference players visiting from other states will notice is the lack of new player bonuses. In other states, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars offer new players loss rebates or similar deals. That does not happen in Nevada. STN Sports, operated by Station Casinos, has a 10% up to $100 bonus. Otherwise, you are out of luck.

Place your bets before coming to Las Vegas

If your state has online sports betting, and you don’t already have a Nevada account open, it is probably best if you make your bets before arriving. This way, you don’t need to waste part of your vacation waiting in sportsbook lines. You can do this on mobile apps or sports sweepstakes sites, which also are not available in Nevada. 

This may not help most visitors. The Kansas City Chiefs are playing the San Francisco 49ers. Neither home state has legal betting, though nearby Kansas is not far from KC. Arizona is the only border state with online sports betting. If you decide to drive to the border to make bets, note that the cell phone service is poor near Hoover Dam. You may need to drive miles into the state to get a signal so geolocation works properly.

All of this is a massive inconvenience to visitors and locals alike. Hopefully, Nevada will end this archaic process and get with the times. The state is capable of it. Nevada online poker permits remote registration, which demonstrates the fact sports betting does not is purely protectionism and serves no legitimate purpose.

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John Mehaffey
John, a founding member of Advantage Media LLC, got his start in gaming as a prop player at online poker sites. He played online poker from 2001 to 2005. In 2004, he created a site that served as a directory for an online poker promotional method known as rakeback. He sold that site in 2006 and moved his family from Atlanta to Rapid City, SD to work for a similar company. They later moved to Las Vegas in 2010. John’s favorite game is full-pay video poker. His favorite table game is Ultimate Texas Hold’em, though he would rather play it in video form. Currently, John is best known for compiling blackjack and table game data including all Las Vegas and Clark County casinos.