In the latest evolution of gambling, New Jersey has approved new regulations that will allow Atlantic City casino customers to place bets on smartphones, iPads and other wireless handheld devices.
Mobile gambling will be allowed within the boundaries of a casino hotel, including at poolside, in dining areas and guest rooms, but it will not be permitted in garages or parking lots.
However, the timeframe for mobile gambling to go live in Atlantic City remains unclear because casinos will first have to receive final regulatory approval but, as Lisa Spengler, a Division of Gaming Enforcement spokeswoman, said no casinos have submitted formal proposals yet.
The technology will literally put gambling in the palm of someone’s hand.
Using wireless devices, customers will be able to bet on slot machines and table games while lounging at the pool, sitting in a restaurant, relaxing in their hotel rooms or roaming around other parts of the property, except for the parking areas.
New Jersey now joins Nevada in legalizing the mobile devices, which are at the forefront of the casino industry’s efforts to appeal to a new generation of tech-savvy gamblers.
Mobile gambling is also seen as a way to capitalize on the emerging Internet gambling phenomenon, which still needs legislative approval to become legal in New Jersey.
The devices would include technology to lock out any gambling once the customers are off the casino property.
Mobile gambling represents the latest technological innovation in the casino industry.
Revel, Atlantic City’s newest casino, introduced server-based slot machines when it opened in April.
Those slots are downloadable and allow the payouts, denominations and game themes to be changed almost instantly with a simple keystroke, avoiding the cumbersome, manual process required for similar changes in regular slot machines.
Atlantic City boosters hope mobile gambling is another amenity that will give the resort town an edge over rival casinos in surrounding states.
Atlantic City is in the midst of a six-year revenue slump caused by the fragile economy and fierce competition from regional gambling, particularly casinos in Pennsylvania.