Gaming Commission OKs mobile gambling in hotel rooms
22 September 2011
Las Vegas resort guests will be able to gamble from their hotel rooms using mobile communications devices — a concept unheard of a decade ago — following unanimous approval Thursday of an amendment to regulations by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
The expanded mobile gaming regulation takes effect Oct. 1, and companies like technology-rich Cantor Gaming are already preparing to take advantage of the new rules.
Under the revised regulation, licensees wanting to expose new sections of a property to mobile gaming would have to convince the chairman of the state Gaming Control Board that they have the ability to monitor play and assure regulators that gaming laws are obeyed.
The critical test will be assuring regulators that only people of lawful gambling age would operate the devices.
Mark Lipparelli, chairman of the Control Board, said identifying the player holding the device will be key, with some form of biometric ID or sophisticated password protection likely to be involved.
Lipparelli said licensing would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and granted to individual properties after reviews by the Control Board’s technology experts.
“I’m sure that some companies will be able to do this better than others,” he told commissioners before the vote.
One of those companies is expected to be Cantor Gaming, which already operates mobile gaming systems at the M Resort Spa Casino, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Tropicana Las Vegas and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The company also has been licensed to manage the race and sports book at the Venetian and Palazzo and has been contracted to run the book at the Plaza downtown.
Nevada regulations already allow mobile gaming in public areas, such as restaurants and swimming pools, at licensed properties. Under the new rules, mobile gaming could occur in rooms, parking lots, parking garages or any other area the Control Board chairman approves.
Lipparelli said there have been virtually no security or technology problems since mobile gaming was introduced by Cantor in 2009 after being licensed in 2008. The initial mobile gaming regulations were adopted in 2006.
It’s unclear how much additional gaming revenue would be generated in Nevada with the new rules in place.
The commission also approved three other regulation amendments, including rules that spell out how casinos must report revenue generated when gamblers fail to redeem tickets dispensed by slot machines.
Legislation approved in the last session requires casinos to turn over to the state 75 percent of the revenue generated from unredeemed tickets. The state expects to collect $35 million in the next biennium under the change. Previously, casinos kept all the revenue from missing tickets.
The commission also approved regulations that allow the state to send official notices and communications to licensees by email instead of to street addresses or Post Office boxes. A revised regulation also allows regulators to post changes or revisions to technical standards on its Internet website instead of in legal advertisements in newspapers.
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