The Nevada legislature is considering a bill that would authorize wireless gambling at licensed casinos.
The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill No. 471, has already been approved by the state Assembly and is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If enacted into law, the measure would permit Nevada casino patrons to gamble in public areas — bars, restaurants, poolside, etc. — through PDAs supplied by the casino.
PDAs, or personal digital assistants, are handheld computer devices that are connected to a mainframe system via microwave transmission.
One company that is lobbying for the legislation is Louisiana-based Diamond I Technologies, which has developed a PDA-based gambling system for casinos, cruise ships and racetracks.
"We are extremely excited that the Nevada Assembly has unanimously approved the new bill," said David Loflin, president of Diamond I Technologies. "We intend to continue our lobbying efforts until the bill is signed into law."
Loflin added that legislative approval would "open the door" for his company’s WiFiCasino Gaming System, which is being shopped at several Nevada casinos.
"WiFi" refers to "wireless fidelity," an industry standard for wireless equipment that meets FCC standards while operating in the 2.4 and 5.8 gigahertz radio spectra.
Diamond I’s system would allow customers to play slots, video poker and other electronic games via a PDA issued by the casino.
The system would also be capable of offering other services, such as Internet access, ordering meals and drinks, making show reservations or accessing concierge services.
Loflin said the company’s WiFiCasino system is highly secure because of its biometric identification, location tracking and other security safeguards designed to ensure legitimate gambling.
Security is a primary consideration of state regulators. Even if the legislation is approved, regulators would have to set guidelines for its implementation.
Issues such as betting on live table games, bingo, keno or race and sports have not been resolved, relative to wireless gaming, according to a source close to the Gaming Control Board.
Another issue that is being considered by regulators is gambling in hotel guest rooms — the WiFiCasino system allows for gambling in guest rooms but Nevada has traditionally frowned on any gambling that is outside of public view, or the view of security cameras.
"There are still a lot of questions to be answered about wireless gaming," said the source. "Even if the concept is okayed by the legislature and signed by the governor, we could be a couple of years away from seeing it in practice."