Regulators to hold workshop for new regs

Oct 25, 2005 3:06 AM

The Nevada Gaming Control Board will hold a public workshop on Tuesday in its Las Vegas office to discuss a variety of proposed new regulations and amended regulations.

Many of the proposed regulations are of the "ho hum" nature, addressing technical and administrative issues, such as employee reports for new licensees, application procedures, disclosure of credit instruments, inter-casino linked systems, and the circumstances under which a casino can charge an entry fee to an area where gaming is conducted.

But a couple of the proposed regulations have been long-awaited and will have a significant impact on how gaming is conducted in Nevada.

The first establishes a body of rules and procedures for the operation of wireless gaming devices in Nevada casinos, and the second provides for interstate account wagering on pari-mutuel horse racing.

Wireless gaming was authorized by the state legislature last year with the intent of allowing Nevada casino patrons to gamble in public areas — bars, restaurants, poolside, etc. — via portable or handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDA’s).

The wireless devices are expected to allow casino customers to play the slots, roulette, poker and blackjack from locations other than the actual casino, but still within the property’s public areas.

Several companies have been working with regulators and will eventually seek licenses to market their products.

One of them is Louisiana-based Diamond I Technologies, which recently signed a letter of intent to work with the Palms to supply its PDA-based gambling system.

Specifically, Diamond I’s WiFi Casino Gaming System utilizes "wireless fidelity," an industry standard for wireless devices that meets FCC standards, and will allow patrons to play slots, video poker and other electronic games via a PDA issued by the casino.

The Diamond I system would also be capable of offering other services, such as Internet access, ordering meals and drinks, making show reservations or accessing concierge services.

Interstate account wagering on horseracing would, for the first time, allow Nevada race books to accept wagers from outside the state.

The Nevada legislature approved interstate horse betting two years ago and the state’s legal bookmakers are excited about finally being able to take bets from outside the state.

Former Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association board member David Lee said there’s plenty of potential in taking interstate bets.

"While I was at Mandalay Resort Group, I wanted to be the first casino to handle interstate wagering," Lee said. "We were ready; we had the off-track facility in place."

Lee said the Nevada casinos have a "unique advantage" in competing with account wagering companies such as TVG and Youbet.com.

"As a destination resort, Las Vegas’ casinos will be able to extend their services and offer comps and other incentives to interstate bettors," he said.

Lee added that offering interstate wagering will help Nevada casinos capture a large segment of the pari-mutuel market that was lost to account wagering companies in California and other states.

The proposed set of regulations governing interstate account wagering allow for the establishment of a "call center," which would handle all the interstate bets for one or more properties.

A casino could also set up a global positioning system-based phone network, or even direct out-of-state callers to the racebook tellers.

Tuesday’s public workshop is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Gaming Control Board office at 555 East Washington Avenue.

Copies of the proposed regulations can be viewed or downloaded from the GCB web site http://gaming.nv.gov.