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Cellphone Ban In Sportsbooks May Be 86'd

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 11th July 2008 3:10am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 1


Here's a peculiar story... the Nevada Gaming Control Board is thinking about repealing the ban on cellphone use in casino sports books. Why? They believe that the ban - enacted to keep folks from making bets over wire service from locations where sports betting is illegal - is out of date with the easy availability of online sports books and other 'net based wagering opportunities.

A second, more tenuous reason, is that continued ban on cellphones would thwart the coming onslaught of mobile gaming... cellphones (ie touch screen smart phones like the iPhone) and hand held gaming devices look a helluva lot alike and policing one versus the other would be... uh... a pain in the ass.

This seems like wacky reasoning to me. With today's smart phones essentially being equal or more powerful than the laptop you bought three or so years ago, the possibility of building a multi-person, phone powered, sports betting racket coordinating bets and lines at the many sports books in Vegas is huge. By repealing the cellphone ban, they could essentially be green-lighting a "VegasJoes-BookRunner.com" cottage industry (which exists already but is much more discrete and personal).

That's not to say I'm against the thing, 99% of the people who will use their phone in the Sportsbook are either going to be using them for social use anyways.



Comments & Discussion:

The only problem with this is that having a cell phone in a sports book is pretty much an invitation to violate federal law--the Wire Act, which makes any cross-border transmission of "gambling information" (including just the lines) a crime. Sure, it's not enforced, but one of the reasons that Nevada casinos instituted the ban was to head off pressure from the feds.

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