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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Nevada Resort Association questions sports wagering kiosks

21 September 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Nevada Resort Association is questioning the growing use of sports wagering kiosks, which allow gamblers to place bets outside the confines of a traditional sports book.

The trade group is concerned the terminals and their expanding technology blur the distinction between nonrestricted gaming, such as hotel-casinos, and restricted locations, which covers bars, taverns and restaurants with 15 or fewer slot machines.

For now, the resort association's board of directors plans to "monitor and watch" how state gaming regulators view the kiosks, which are run by race and sports book operator Leroy's.

The kiosks are being used inside Buffalo Wild Wings, the Inn Zone Lounges and have received tentative regulatory approval for use at PT's and other locations operated by Golden Gaming Inc.

The kiosks were designed to allow customers to place wagers as long as they had money on account. The customers would have to travel to a Leroy's sports book to cash winning tickets.

However, technology has evolved, allowing customers to deposit money at the kiosks and collect winning tickets, without venturing to a traditional Leroy's. Also, at some kiosk locations, customers may soon be able to open accounts. The technology is pending regulatory approval.

Nevada Resort Association President Virginia Valentine said Monday the organization's board believes state gaming regulations require sports wagering to take place inside a traditional casino. Allowing restricted locations, which are only licensed for slot machines, to have sports wagering kiosks, "changes the game."

"The question covers long-standing gaming policy," Valentine said. "There seems to be a departure in that policy."

Valentine said sports bettors will often gamble on slot machines or spend money on food and beverage. She said it was a "oversimplification" by saying the kiosks are a convenient way for customers to make sports wagers.

"We're not objecting to anything specific at this point," Valentine said.

At a Gaming Control Board hearing earlier this month on the PT's request for the betting kiosks, Valentine told regulators the association had concerns about the kiosks. She said she wasn't sure if she would speak out on the matter Thursday when the Nevada Gaming Commission rules on the board approval.

A representative from Golden Gaming declined comment on the kiosks.

The kiosks were first introduced by Leroy's about four years ago.

The company, which operates race and sports books for more than 70 Nevada casinos, was recently acquired by British bookmaking giant William Hill Plc for $18 million. The deal is pending Nevada regulatory approval.

Leroy's Chief Executive Officer Vic Salerno said the new technology makes the wagering more convenient for customers.

PT's customers, who are members of the company's slot club, will be able to use their cards to sign up for accounts with Leroy's. Also, customers wishing to collect on winning wagers will be able to print a voucher at the terminal that can be paid by a bartender.

The kiosks, Salerno said, help expand sports wagering and build a new customer base from tavern and restaurant patrons.

"We're creating more of a market with the changes in technology," Salerno said.
Nevada Resort Association questions sports wagering kiosks is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.