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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide

WiFi: You Can Bet On It!

By Theodore F. di Stefano
Dec 9, 2005 7:00 AM PT

This past April, I wrote an article entitled WiFi Will Change the World. When I was writing that article, I wondered whether I was being overly optimistic about WiFi. Since then, I have come to realize that the world of WiFi, its amazing applications, and its revolutionary possibilities are only just beginning to emerge.

WiFi: You Can Bet On It!

WiFi Gambling

One such application is WiFi gambling. Frankly, I never gave wireless gaming a thought, until a company called Diamond I (OTC BB: DMOI), a provider of hand-held modules to be used in casinos, resorts, racetracks, and cruise lines, retained my consulting services. I have since found that Cantor G&W, a subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald, LP, is another major player in this field. Companies like Diamond I and Cantor G&W will revolutionize gaming.

Here's how wireless gaming works. When you walk into a casino you obtain a wireless PDA. This device is activated either through a credit card, or through some other credit arrangement that you might have with the management, and has a user-specific, pre-determined credit line to be used for gambling purposes.

You would then be able to take the PDA throughout the casino (depending upon the casino's restrictions) and gamble on it at your leisure. You could play poker, slots, dice, or other games on it. This means that the PDA could be taken to the casino restaurant, pool, or even hotel room, depending on state regulatory restrictions.

The PDA could also be used by you to order food, check the activities going on at the resort, or even inspect and pay your hotel bill. One added feature that I think is pretty fascinating is that, if you order food by the poolside, the waiters will know where to deliver it because the PDA will have a tracking device. Pretty amazing technology!

Encryption and Biometrics Make the Devices Safe

At this point you might be worried about whether or not your kids or other unauthorized persons could get their hands on this device and do a bit of illegal gambling. Not to worry! The device has biometric technology that will enable it only by an authorized user.

What about security, you might ask. The PDA has encryption technology that will block the unauthorized use of the device or intrusion into the gambler's privacy.

Can you use the device off the premises? The answer is no. The PDA will be operative only within certain pre-determined areas of the casino. So even if a patron were to inadvertently take the device with him when he/she checks out, it would be useless outside of the casino's boundaries. In any event, the casino would very likely make the return of the device an integral and necessary part of the checkout process.

WiFi Gaming a Precursor to Internet Gambling

Internet gambling is presently illegal in the United States. It is, however, legal in other parts of the world. This means that this device could be used by foreigners, where legal, to access Internet gaming sites. It acts as a wireless PDA that could be brought to the beach, on board a ship, or any other place where local laws allow Internet gambling.

Such use of the device will create a virtual casino for the user. The casino will "follow the user around." Encryption technology insures that the user's ID and gambling winnings are protected.

Nevada First State to Allow WiFi Gaming

The state of Nevada, through its gaming commission, has recently approved this technology in its casinos. Governor Kenny Guinn has signed the legislation into law. This makes Nevada the first state in the U.S. to allow the use of hand-held devices for gaming. The actual implementation of the law will go into effect once specific gaming rules for these devices are adopted by the State of Nevada. A critical part of the approval process was the biometric security whereby only an authorized user will make the PDA function.

Many analysts feel that it will be only a matter of time before other states join Nevada in adopting laws to accommodate gambling in casinos with WiFi devices. In fact, Aimee Marcel, gaming analyst at Jefferies & Co. recently said: " This has the potential to be a huge growth vehicle for the manufacturers."

The fact is, this type of gaming is legal in some European countries. So, we won't be the first country to adopt wireless gaming.

WiFi IS Changing the World

When I wrote the article, WiFi Will Change the World, I didn't fully realize the extent to which my article was prescient. Actually, if I were to write that article today, I would change the title to WiFi Is Changing the World.

The future is now! Good luck!


Theodore F. di Stefano is a founder and managing partner at Capital Source Partners, which deals in bringing small-cap companies public. He also is a frequent speaker on the subject of financial advice for small businesses as well as the IPO process. He can be contacted at Ted@capitalsourcepartners.com.


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