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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gambling on the Go

Gambling on the Go by Christina Volpe
Reprinted from Hospitality Technology Magazine, October 9, 2008


Gambling on the go
Imagine being able to gamble practically anywhere you want in a casino: by the pool, in the lobby or even while you wait for your table in a restaurant. Nevada has become the first state in the nation to approve of the use of handheld mobile gaming devices in casinos, and several casino operators are lining up to test out this innovative technology.

These wireless handheld devices, which look like Nintendo's Game Boy, feature a variety of games that patrons can choose from to play such as bingo, poker,Capture blackjack, baccarat, roulette or horse betting. In order to use these mobile devices, guests simply need to sign them out with the proper identification and load them with the desired amount of money.

By limiting where players can use these wireless devices (they only work in public areas, such as by the pool or in the lobby), manufacturers and operators hope to curb incidents of theft and underage use. Should guests roam away from the sanctioned areas of play, these devices will turn off and can only be reactivated once the player returns to the casino's public area.

The M Resort, Spa and Casino (www.themresort.com) is just one of two Las Vegas resorts which is in the process of testing mobile hand-held gaming, which management expects to go live in spring 2009. Through an exclusive agreement with Cantor Gaming (www.cantorgaming.com), the M Resort has plans to use the hand-held mobile devices for operating their racing and sports books, in addition to offering guests the opportunity to play unique casino game offerings.

The M Resort is currently in the process of choosing which games they are going to use on the mobile devices.
"There is definitely a demand for mobile gaming as an operator," says Joe Magliarditi, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the M Resort, Spa and Casino. "We are going to be able to offer casino customers more time to game at the pool, or during conventions, or when going to dinner with friends. We, like everyone else, are trying to give customers more options. Our hotel will be very value oriented and customers can do something here that they cannot do at other properties. And that is very important."

The Venetian Resort, Hotel, Casino (www.venetian.com) was the first property in Las Vegas to field test devices from Cantor Gaming. After receiving approval from the Gaming Control Board, testing began in April 2008 and is expected to conclude this fall. The field trials are currently contained in the high limit slots salon of The Venetian only, with hopes to roll out mobile gaming throughout The Venetian and The Palazzo once the tests have concluded.
Cantor Gaming is the exclusive mobile gaming provider for both the M Resort and The Venetian. The company is the first licensed manufacturer, distributor and operator of a mobile gaming system in the Nevada Gaming Commission and was one of the early proponents pushing for the legalization of mobile gaming in Nevada.

"It is just like everything else, says Magliarditi, "We are going to have to closely monitor it with security, management and surveillance."

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