Nevada Gaming Control Board member Randy Sayre may have discovered that being one of the architects of statewide gaming policy is not the same as asking tough question of gaming license applicants.
"You don’t throw authority around just because you have it to throw," says one Sayre critic. Sayre has recently been attracting growls and frowns, with some gaming company leaders wondering what this guy is all about?
Sitting on the Board has usually commanded a certain respect by a new member for the Board’s traditional approach to business. If that approach is to be changed then Sayre can expect sharp looks when he unilaterally takes action or issues opinions concerning areas that are not part of his responsibility.
Sayre supervises the Enforcement Division; Chairman Dennis Neilander oversees administration and the third member, Mark Clayton, supervises the Control Board’s audit and lab functions.
Station Casinos is reportedly one of the licensees that has recently encountered unexpected turbulence in its dealing with Sayre. The company is believed to have proposed a fantasy football campaign and Sayre took exception to some of the language in the company’s marketing plan.
So change it, was his reaction.
Station officials could not be reached for comment.
This situation by itself does not seem to be a big deal, but even a slight altering of relationship dynamics can be bothersome to Board staffers, industry officials and their attorneys who have a strong dislike for unexpected twists and turns in traditional approaches to the process of gaming regulation.
Cantor Gaming’s wireless wagering system may not be ready for field tests before early 2008. That’s a disappointment to company officials who had hoped to show off a final version during November’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) when thousands of industry officials from around the world are in Las Vegas.
Testing at the Gaming Control Board lab during recent weeks produced the need for additional information. There are some differences of opinion about the issues involved in getting work completed but the bottom line is more time in the lab will be required.
Officials familiar with the Cantor viewpoint say the various elements of the system are still so new to Nevada gaming that it is getting more than the usual close looks by regulators and lab personnel — "People who want to make sure they have their fingerprints on the end product."
Once the state signs off on the Cantor system, there will be several months of field trials at the Venetian before it is approved for general use.
Cantor led the way into this new era of remote gaming four years ago as it hired the Nevada-based experts who could help the company create the legislation and state gaming regulations necessary to allow remote gambling. Cantor Gaming & Wagering is a subsidiary of the financial services company Cantor Fitzgerald.
Company spokesmen have generally presented the advantages of remote gaming as a chance to bring people to casino games without having to work their way through an often uncomfortable introductory process.
"Maybe they’re not totally familiar with the rules, maybe they are intimidated by other more experienced people at the table," says Cantor Gaming President Lee Amaitis.
Or maybe, he suggests, people are waiting in a restaurant lounge, relaxing by the pool or doing any of the many things that leave a customer with time to fill away from the live games. The bottom line, as Amaitis sees it: remote gaming offers the opportunity to generate gaming revenue in areas of a resort where there is not now any gaming.
Amaitis quickly shoots down the notion that the first use of Cantor’s creation might involve race and sports books.
"Its first use will be with casino style games but there is a great opportunity for race and sports wagering," he said.
Cantor has talked with other companies as it waits for the process of state review and field trials to run their course, but Amaitis is not ready yet to share details about what may happen elsewhere for the time being.
Does Amaitis expect other announcements before the completion of the Venetian tests?
"When they get signed we’ll announce them," he said.