Entertainment: latest word in design

May 23, 2006 3:39 AM


Auto dealerships in casino resorts and gaming floors in the palm of your hand — that’s the gambling experience in 2006 at its most cutting edge.

"It’s all about creating a mood and lifestyle," said Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs, president and CFO for Lifescapes International during the recent G2E Institute at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

"Casino design is now about creating relaxing days and high-energy nights," she said. "It’s about entertainment working with restaurants ”¦ and exciting attractions like the 60-foot shark slide at Atlantis Paradise Island or the Ferrari/Maserati dealership inside Wynn Las Vegas."

Jacobs detailed a recurring theme of the gaming conference — that marketing this industry is now about entertainment attracting gamblers and casino play, not the other way around.

"The Las Vegas scene is about hot nightspots like Tao at the Venetian and Mix at Mandalay Bay. Lake of Dreams at Wynn takes dining to a whole new level," she said. "Ultra lounges with private VIP services — that’s what people want and draws players into the casinos."

As for the casinos, hand-held devices have not only replicated the gaming experience but will soon be a live part of it.

"Last month our wireless device was approved by the Gaming Control Board," said Joe Asher, managing director for Cantor Gaming. "Customers can take their hand-held mobile devices outside the gaming floor to gamble."

The advantage for casinos to allow hand held gaming devices are twofold, according to Asher.

"There would be 100 percent accuracy in player tracking," he said. "Also, if customers want to hang by the pool and enjoy an afternoon in the sun, they can also play slots, roulette or blackjack right where they are in the palm of their hands. It’s the future of the entire gaming experience."

Bob DelRossi, vice president and general manager of research and development at Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, said downloadable technology was of interest to both his company and IGT.

"The quality of content is the most important thing," DelRossi said. "The next phase could see airline passengers gambling on slots in their seats. So long as everything is done in public view, we’re okay."

Lloyd Levenson, CEO of Cooper Levenson attorneys at law, cited the major complaint and fear about the new technology — "that widespread gambling across the Internet is unregulated and now you’re bringing in another form of gaming for underage kids."

Asher, though, felt that mobile devices will bring an entire generation into gaming and will be a good thing for the industry.

"The technology is only a few months away where we can verify and establish players," he said. "Again, so long as gaming is done in public view, I believe this is the wave of the future and slot manufacturers will capitalize."