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Kevin Smith

Nevada Mobile Gambling Bill Receives Senate Approval

31 May 2005

Nevada has moved a step closer to becoming the first U.S. state to regulate mobile gambling at its casinos.

AB 471 completed its course in the state's legislature Thursday with its passage in the Senate on a 20-1 vote. The bill, which authorizes the establishment of regulations and procedures for mobile gambling at casino properties, was sent to the governor on Monday and could be signed into law within days.

If enacted, the new law will allow Nevada casinos with non-restricted gambling licenses to offer games of chance (blackjack, roulette, etc.) via wireless devices. Play would be restricted to gamblers located on the casino property.

Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, says that with the plan comes a great deal of uncertainty, but that consumer demand will ultimately dictate whether it's a success.

"The real question is what demand is there going to be for the product and what innovation is going to be a byproduct of it," Eadington said. "It's a bit like the Internet. It has all kinds of possibilities, but whether they ever come to fruition is another question."

Joe Asher with Nevada-based Cantor G&W said the bill marks a historic moment in gambling regulation.

"This is a resounding recognition that advances in mobile technology will benefit the gaming industry," Asher said.

Cantor G & W, a division of New York-based financial services group Cantor Fitzgerald, has developed a wireless gambling system that could be implemented under the new law (pending the gaming Commission's approval).

Among the most aggressive technology group's in line for mobile gambling approval in Nevada is Diamond I Inc. of Baton Rouge. The company's WiFiCasino GS system enables users to gamble, access the Internet, order meals and drinks and contact the resort concierge service using mobile devices.


A main goal of the Gaming Commission will be to draft guidelines that ensure the devices won't fall into the hands of minors. One suggested solution is approving only systems in which the mobile gambling devices are equipped with biometric systems that read permitted users' thumb prints.

State Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, voted in favor of the bill, but only after expressing some hesitation. Carlton said she's concerned over the effects mobile gambling could have on her job who as a waitress at the coffee shop at Treasure Island.

"There needs to be places where there aren't two and three gaming devices at your disposal," she said. "It's hard enough to get somebody's order when they're trying to fill out a keno slip. All I need to find out from them is how they like their eggs and what kind of toast they want."

Carlton also questioned whether casino employees would be accountable if the regulations are violated.

"What's going to be my responsibility?" she asked. "Am I going to be obligated to turn someone in if I see them hand it to their kid?"

The devices would only be available for use in the public areas of casinos with 100 or more slot machines and at least one other game. They would be functional in bars, pool areas, restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and other public areas of a casino resort property, but would be barred from hotel rooms or any other private areas.

Gov. Kenny Guinn has yet to approve the bill, but a spokesman for his office said the legislation appears to keep the casino industry in step with evolving technology.

State Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said developing regulations for the mobile devices could take up to a year.

Nevada Mobile Gambling Bill Receives Senate Approval is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith