Remote Sports Betting

Feb 24, 2004 4:57 AM

Sports bettors who would rather lounge in their favorite tavern than tangle with casino crowds can have their wish with a new remote sports betting system currently on field trial in Nevada.

The system, developed by VirtGame Corp. in California and set up through Bally’s sports book in Las Vegas, allows players to bet at about 24 pubs and taverns that are on United Coin Machine’s slot route.

"All the player needs is a phone account at the sports book," said Bruce Merati, VirtGame CEO. "Then he can place bets or check betting lines at kiosks located in his favorite tavern."

The kiosks, or Sports Bet Express (SBX) terminals, are similar to an ATM and operate with a touch screen.

In accordance with Nevada regulations, the customer must first go to Bally’s and open an account and deposit funds. He must provide proof of age and Nevada residency, and can then place a wager remotely through his account from a participating bar or tavern.

The beta field test, which began earlier this month, will continue for at least 30 days and up to 60 days. It is required before a system can receive final approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

"We are very excited to have reached the final beta test phase for approval of our Prime Line SBX," Merati said.

Among the taverns offering the betting kiosks is Triple Play on Decatur Blvd.

"We’ve had it for a short while and think it will be a nice addition for our customers," said Triple Play co-owner Marley Werner. "Of course, it would have really been big during football season, but there’s still plenty of sports coming up this spring."

Upon successful completion of the trial and final regulatory approval, a larger number of SBX terminals will be placed in Nevada locations, and other sports books will be allowed to join the network.

The latter would give the player the option of "shopping" for lines or odds.

Based in San Diego, VirtGame is a provider of server-based, networked gaming software solutions to the gaming and lottery industries.

Its products have also included VirtGame SP, a comprehensive, scalable and customizable gaming platform. For more information, visit their website, VirtGame.com.