Gigs & Bytes: Gaming Las Vegas
That is, until he tried one of those one-armed bandits.
“Twilight Zone” fans know how this one turned out. Once the guy starts playing, he can’t quit. Even when he locks himself up in his hotel room, he can’t escape gambling’s clutches: a one-armed bandit breaks through his door and demands to be played immediately.
Of course, “The Twilight Zone” was a product of Rod Serling’s fertile imagination. However, no matter how bizarre a scene Serling created, he never dreamed of a time when people could gamble in Vegas without ever visiting a table or pulling a handle.
But then, Serling never envisioned today’s Vegas, a city that caters to both vice and family. And, it’s safe to say, Serling never envisioned Las Vegas Sands Corp., owner of Las Vegas’ famed Venetian hotel-casino.
That’s because Las Vegas Sands is set to become the first Nevada outfit to incorporate mobile gambling into its casino. Perhaps as early as this year Venetian customers will be able to play blackjack, roulette, poker and slots on handheld devices while dining in one of the establishment’s restaurants or while lounging poolside.
The Nevada Gaming Commission approved regulations allowing mobile gambling in casinos last March. The new regs allow playing everywhere on casino grounds that can be supervised. Unlike that “Twilight Zone” episode of yore, hotel rooms will be one of the places where you can’t gamble.
The mobile handhelds will be provided by Cantor G & W, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald financial services. The plan calls for the devices to be first used in the Venetian and then in Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s newest property, The Palazzo, which is scheduled to open in late 2007.
However, don’t think mobile gambling will be limited to The Venetian and The Palazzo. While The Venetian will be first, Cantor’s deal with the hotel/casino is not an exclusive one.
“We hope to reach agreements with others, as well,” Cantor managing director Joe Asher said. “I fully expect that one day, you’ll see these devices everywhere.”