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Nevada board approves Blackberry sportsbetting application

4 January 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Nevada Gaming Control Board has approved American Wagering Inc.'s Leroy's application that lets state residents place sports bets from their BlackBerry smart phones, a company executive confirmed Monday.

The decision makes American Wagering the first company in the United States with an approved smart-phone application for sports wagering. The company also submitted its application on Google's Android platform for regulatory approval.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said that each of these applications are subject to review and testing to prove the "technology can be disabled at the state border."

He declined to confirm whether other gaming companies had mobile sports wagering applications being field-tested by state regulators.

Las Vegas-based American Wagering operates 76 Leroy's Horse and Sports Place Inc. outlets and self-service kiosks on casino floors statewide.

"It took about 90 days for the field tests to be completed," said John English, American Wagering's senior vice president of business development and public affairs. "What regulators were concerned about was that all sports bets were made within the state."

The technology consists of several layers of security including patent-pending geographic location processes and encrypted communications, the company said. The combined procedure ensures "safe and secure" wagers from users to the company's centralized facilities in Las Vegas.

English said Monday that he was hoping the regulatory approval process for the Android application might go a little faster following the success of the BlackBerry application's field tests. Bettors have been placing wagers using their BlackBerry smart phones during a field trial that let regulators evaluate the system's efficiency and security.

Sales of smart phones using the Android operating system account for the market's fastest-growing segment. According to Nielsen Co. research, 40.8 percent of all smart phones sold in the last six months were Android smart phones, compared with 26.9 percent for Apple iPhones and 19.2 percent for Research in Motion's BlackBerry.

Next on American Wagering's agenda is submitting an iPhone application for approval, he said.

"It's a new direction for our company," English said. "We will move into iPads and other mobile devices after we are sure we can (secure) the application. The application itself is not expensive. What (are) expensive are the security features."