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Nevada Goes Wireless

Regulations passed back in March, based on 2005 legislation, made Nevada the first state to allow wireless gambling in any casino’s public areas, including restaurants, lounges or out at the pool. It falls short of internet gambling and gambling in areas that can’t be monitored, like hotel rooms, however, but it is a major step in the runaway juggernaut that is the teaming of technology and gambling.

Slot machine giant International Game Technology (IGT) was given the green light in August by Nevada regulators to compete in the fast-growing market of mobile-gambling handsets. Members of the state Gaming Commission, following a nudge from the state Gaming Control Board, voted unanimously to approve the Reno-based slot manufacturer for licensing as an operator of mobile gambling systems.

IGT’s also move comes on the heels of licensing in May of Cantor Gaming, who led the 2005 legislative effort to allow wireless gambling in Nevada as the first licensed manufacturer and distributor of the wireless devices, which would be linked to a casino’s main server.

The commission approved after Amy Monette, director of IGT’s research laboratory, said market studies show many gamblers are interested in the new direction.

“We feel that becoming an early player is worth the financial risk,” Monette said as commissioners tinkered with IGT prototypes featuring blackjack, poker, video slots, roulette and keno.

Advocates see the move as a better way to use resort space geared toward shopping, dining, night-clubbing and other non-gambling activities. Those stepping more warily voice concerns that the devices must stay in the hands of those who checked them out in the first place, and don’t fall into the hands of minors.
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