Sports betting fans and operators in the US state of Nevada face a longer wait to find out whether or when remote sign up will be legal in the state.
The news came with the cancellation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board of a workshop, open to the public, that was to discuss allowing registration through the mobile sign up. The proposal was to be implemented by altering a key regulation to permit remote identity verification.
This isn’t the end of the line as far as the proposal is concerned, and according to reports, the event will be rescheduled, but it is another source of frustration for those campaigning for remote sign-up, following two previous attempts to bring in some form of remote registration. It also goes against the trend across the US, including the state of Rhode Island, which this year altered its rules.
Unfortunately for those who want to bet online, some of the obstacles are being erected by sports betting companies themselves. For example, William Hill has argued against remote sign-ups in the state. The operator has hundreds of venues for funding accounts across the state, including retail store locations, as well as sign-up kiosks stationed at almost 70 casinos across the state. They are joined in their opposition by Station Casinos, which has a strong presence in the south.
That state of affairs may change this time around, once the proposal gets to be heard. William Hill US has been bought out by Caesars, and back in 2018, the last time that remote registration was considered, Caesars, along with Wynn and MGM Resorts, were in favor.
The impact of COVID-19 may also have an effect. In the absence of mobile registration, while the casinos were shut down, sportsbook operators were forced to hold drive-through sign-ups and other innovative events to register new customers.
The end result has been a stalled mobile sports betting market in the state. Nevada recorded its highest proportion of mobile sports betting back in June when it hit 79%, but that figure dropped to 54.9% in September, which is a long way short of those figures recorded in other states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which regularly exceed 90%.
During September, New Jersey sports betting operators produced 90.6% of its record $748 million come through mobile, while Pennsylvania produced a figure of 89.5% in the same month.
And there has been some progress towards remote sign-up being the norm. Regulation 14.265, brought in earlier this year, makes it legal for players to put money on their betting accounts via their bank accounts. This was an important first step towards removing the rule that funding has to take place at sportsbooks or other approved venues.
At the moment, some companies such as William Hill use the PayNearMe service, which allows bettors to fund accounts at various venues. Other operators, including Boyd and Station, employ the Play+ service, which allows players to fund their Play+ card and then move the money to their betting accounts.
While these reforms were welcome, it is clear that there is some way to go before Nevada has a fully functioning and competitive mobile sports betting sector.
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