In New Jersey, the gambling revolution will be televised

Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:08pm EST
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By Hilary Russ

(Reuters) - Guests at one New Jersey casino will be the first in the United States to place bets with the click of their television remote controls, as gambling gets ever closer to going online in the state.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City will launch a field trial for in-room video poker and slots on February 18, following approval from state gambling regulators in January for the project to begin.

The 90-day experiment - available on televisions in the majority of the Borgata's 2,800 hotel rooms - is likely to provide insights on how state lawmakers could legalize online gaming after New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie narrowly vetoed a bill last week which would have done just that.

The technology "provides us a first look and first step at things that are greater to come, both with mobile technology and internet technology," said Joe Lupo, senior vice president of operations at Borgata, owned by Boyd Gaming Corp.

"We are fully confident that it will be successful and we can incorporate what we learned into both the mobile and internet regulatory processes," said Lupo.

Software developer Allin Interactive Corp, a subsidiary of Allin Corp, has been providing in-room gaming to cruise ships in international waters for several years. But the company says the New Jersey experiment is the first land-based in-room gaming operation in the United States.

Up to eight U.S. states are considering legalizing online gambling to varying degrees, according to analysts at Citigroup.

Some forms are already legal in Delaware and Nevada. But large markets remain untapped. In New Jersey, the market could be worth up to $1 billion.   Continued...