Mobile gaming gets OK

Mar 28, 2006 5:32 AM

The Nevada Gaming Commission last week approved new regulations that will govern the use of wireless gaming devices in Nevada casinos.

The new regulations were mandated by Nevada law AB471 enacted two years ago, which authorized the use of handheld, mobile gaming devices in casinos.

Although adopting the new technical standards has attracted plenty of interest — several wireless gaming manufacturers attended the NGC meeting — it may be awhile before the technology is implemented in Nevada casinos.

Some of the possible applications include wireless handheld devices similar to I-pods that would allow casino customers to play blackjack, slots or roulette while they were in hotel public areas such as restaurants, lobby, shops and pool areas.

The wireless devices would not be operable in hotel rooms, or outside the boundaries of the hotel/casino.

Over the next few months, regulators are expected to review and test manufacturers’ mobile gaming devices, which if approved, would then undergo field testing at live casinos.

One manufacturer that is seeking a Nevada license is Cantor Gaming, an affiliate of New York-based financial services company Cantor Fitzgerald.

"Mobile gaming is the next step of gambling technology because it allows the patron to gamble when he or she wants in the appropriate areas of the casino," said Joe Asher, managing director of Cantor Gaming. "There is an entire generation that has grown up with mobile devices. People like to do what they want on their own terms. That’s what mobile gaming allows."
Another firm that is seeking a Nevada license is Louisiana-based Diamond I Technologies, which produces a handheld Wi-Fi-based system called the WifiCasino GS Concierge and Gaming System.

The term "Wi-Fi" (wireless fidelity) refers to an industry standard for wireless equipment that meets published standards. Wi-Fi equipment operates in unlicensed spectra, such as 2.4 and 5.8 gigahertz (microwave) radio spectrum.

Diamond I President David Loflin said last week’s adoption of the new regulations marked an "exciting day in our company’s history."

"We’ve got the equipment and the software and we’re about 80 percent there," Loflin said. "We are ready for the coming adventure."

Loflin added that the Palms Casino Resort, in a letter of intent, is considering establishing a relationship with Diamond I to develop a mobile gaming system.

Other possible venues for handheld gaming devices, Loflin said, include horse and dog tracks and cruise ships.