The Future of Gambling?

Doyle Brunson Meets Cantor Fitzgerald

by , Dec 13, 2009 | 2:30 pm

This (long) weekend’s #WPBT festivities are coming to a close … and as I type the poker bloggers are gathered for Sunday football at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Palazzo. There some of them are experiencing, for the first time, what many say is the future of gambling: handheld, semi-portable real-money action.

A new-ish device, “eDeck”, lets you gamble Blackberry/iPhone-style theoretically from anywhere, but currently within the confines of three Las Vegas casinos — the Venetian, Palazzo, and M Resort. Global Gaming Business Magazine named it Best Table Game Product or Innovation for 2009. And none other than Doyle Brunson has been pimping it:

This ad has been airing in Las Vegas for the past couple months — on NBC during Poker After Dark, and on Fox during Sunday NFL games.

The product itself — developed by Cantor Gaming, a division of global financiers Cantor Fitzgerald — has more to do with blackjack and sports betting than it does poker. And Lagasse’s Stadium seems the perfect place to enjoy what it has to offer: Not only can you bet sports parlays while lounging on leather couches in front of monster flat-screens, but also it has “in-game betting” … meaning you can hedge losses, compound wins, or descend into a downward spiral toward broke-dom by betting on things like who’s gonna score next, and whether or not a team will make a field goal.

Awesome — and I don’t even bet sports! But what really got me when I first saw this ad is what it suggests about the future of gambling in terms of handheld technology, business relationships, and legal jurisdictions.

Seriously, did we ever expect to see:

A) A poker commercial without an online poker room anywhere near it.
B) Doyle Brunson as a marketable commodity outside of poker.
C) An ad airing during an NFL game that closes with the tagline, “a complete casino in the palm of your hand.”

Especially C!

Cantor has been working on the eDeck (branded “PocketCasino” at Venetian properties) for years. I first took note during my Thrillist days, when they were running trials and waiting on regulatory approval. Now, in addition to the comfort-fun at Palazzo, you can do your sports-betting without missing a blind at the Venetian poker room.

From a legal perspective … all this online betting and money-transfer is now totally allowable in the United States Nevada (at least for Cantor), so long as it stays within the confines of a (licensed) casino.

Seeing things that way, and thinking of states like California and Kentucky who want to regulate online gambling within their borders, you realize that the big issue in everything online gambling that will Congress may or may not debate in 2010 is really a matter of where do you draw the lines — not morally, but geographically — of where people can engage in recreational vice.

Here’s something similar, a simple iPhone app in England, where they are willing to let the transmission of data and money be “free” throughout the country:

7 Comments to “The Future of Gambling? ”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Isn’t wireless betting only allowed in Nevada? Some quick Googling brings up this was allowed since March 2006:

    There’s been plenty of commercials with a poker theme not promoting a cardroom, but this would appear to be a first with a poker player, playing poker, not representing a poker site.

  2. DanM

    Yeah, as far as I know, these three casinos are the only ones with it … not sure about places like Atlantic City.

    And yeah, the technology has been there for a while, as has the legal framework … but as we are learning in all things (online) pokery, it takes a while to bring them all together and truly put it all in the public’s hands.

  3. DanM

    BTW, just read the article you linked to, and yeah … that seems about right — took them four years between the passing of a law+developing of technology to bring the vision behind it all to some sort of fruition.

  4. Prieure

    The more like a computer game that gambling gets the more dangerous it becomes. It makes it less real, in my opinion it’s always better to feel the money and/or chips in your hands. Just because we have the iPhone applications over here I don’t think it’s a good thing.

  5. Kevin Mathers

    Haven’t people been able to gamble through their TV for years in the UK?

  6. DanM

    Here’s another interesting related video (with the CEO of Cantor Gaming talking about it on CNBC):

  7. DanM

    @Prieure lots of things got/get more dangerous with the internet and handheld technology. Indeed, there will be more problem gambling situations, but not necessarily from a percentage standpoint. IMHO, that’s not reason enough to limit the good things about it. (Think how many marriages Facebook has probably helped destroy … but that doesn’t mean we should get rid of Facebook, right?)

    Besides, technology is inevitable. In fact, think about it … later in our lifetimes we will undoubtedly be seeing people play video games for real money. It’s already happening on a small scale.