Wireless could
cure race woes

Sep 19, 2006 2:49 AM

Wireless gaming technology, which is expected to hit Nevada casinos early next year, could provide a quick fix to the ailing horse betting industry, according to the CEO of one of the industry’s leading firms.

"Right now, the rules are less stringent when it comes to making race and sports bets from outside the casino," said Shawn Kreloff, chairman and CEO of Sona -Mobile, Inc.

Kreloff added that it’s likely that race and sports betting could be the first application of wireless gaming when it debuts in -Nevada.

But to reach that point, he pointed out, regulators would need to firm up technical standards and requirements that they’re currently considering.

"I expect we’ll also see more field trials of the technology outside of Nevada — and even outside of the country — before we begin to test actual devices within the state," Kreloff said.

Horse betting, according to regulators, has suffered four straight months of declining revenue over the same periods last year.

The last two months endured double-digit declines.

Mobile/wireless gaming has been touted as the next big breakthrough in casino gambling. It would allow casino patrons to place bets and otherwise gamble on handheld electronic devices that can be operated from remote locations, such as restaurants, shops and poolside. They would not be operable from hotel guest rooms.

Kreloff said race and sports betting could be the first beneficiary of the technology because those wagers don’t require a random number generator to produce an outcome for a game. Rather, the devices would simply process bets remotely.

"In the case of race and sports betting, the wireless devices would be more conducive to being just an accessory to the race and sports book, as opposed to a game that generated a random outcome," he said.

Sona Mobile currently produces handheld race and sports betting devices. The feature full-screen action, ability to place and monitor wagers, access to post race/game information, check account balances, and receive instant alerts to line changes, odds changes, team news, injuries and other betting information.

Sona Mobile has partnered with Shuffle Master, which will supply game content for Sona’s mobile system, and Symbol Technologies, which will provide a complete wireless solution including Wi-Fi infrastructure (the hardware) and professional services to go along with Sona’s software solutions.