|American Wagering Inc., Nevada’s largest provider of computerized sports betting systems to casinos, has developed a kiosk that allows gamblers to bet on horseraces, auto racing and other sporting events 24/7. |
'Sports books are pretty much dark at night,' American Wagering Chief Financial Officer Tim Lockinger said. '(Kiosks) make it more of a 24-hour operation.'
Nevada regulators Thursday approved a sports and race betting kiosk concept that works somewhat like an ATM. The kiosk, which wasn't named, offers larger casinos a chance to increase their sports betting volume by placing the devices in well-travelled casino areas.
American Wagering still needs regulatory approvals to conduct a field trial for the device, which could be launched in casinos across Nevada by mid-April.
Las Vegas Dissemination Co. already offers kiosks that allow gamblers to bet on pari-mutuel races. And for the past two years, VirtGame Corp. has offered PC-based race and sports betting software to Nevada casinos. Last month the company obtained regulatory approval to become a licensed manufacturer and distributor in Nevada - a first step in a process that would allow the company to launch kiosks and other betting devices that also offer traditional games of chance along with sports betting.
American Wagering's kiosks will use biometric, facial-recognition technology to match player data with their faces – to satisfy stringent rules concerning prevention of gambling by minors. The machines also will only allow players to gamble up to $3,000 in cash per day, though an unlimited number of vouchers and winning tickets may be placed back into the machine for further play. American Wagering came up with the limit to satisfy federal rules governing money-laundering, Lockinger said. Casinos must typically document cash transfers of $10,000 or more with the federal government.
But the kiosk makers have been careful to avoid the word 'Internet' in their licensing process due to the legal minefield surrounding Internet gambling. American Wagering's devices won't use an Internet connection to transmit data, Lockinger said.
The kiosks are only approved for use in Nevada, though gamblers don't have to be state residents, he added. VirtGame's wagering system also falls within legal guidelines because it uses a private network connection, also called a 'closed-loop' system, to transmit information. The company's systems also are only approved for use statewide.
Such fine distinctions are important as Internet gambling across state lines is illegal under federal law. Regulators are exploring whether to regulate Internet gambling within Nevada, which could allow residents to place bets within the state.
American Wagering is working on future upgrades to the kiosks that would require a host of regulatory approvals before they ever come to market.
Sports betting systems could move beyond kiosks to include wireless devices -- like miniature personal computers -- allowing casino gamblers to place bets poolside, for example, the company said. Another device could allow players to place bets from their hotel rooms. Yet another version could double as a slot machine at which players could wager on casino games of chance.