Attention all couch potatoes who want to live large in Las Vegas: your dreams could soon be answered by a Las Vegas casino company with a new system that lets patrons play video poker and slots from their rooms.
But analysts and other casino operators pointed out the new in-room technology from Station Casinos Inc. and similar products like online gambling systems must address a number of regulatory and legal issues before they ever become widespread.
The new system developed by Station subsidiary Gamecast Live LLC includes a suite of games that can be played from a guest’s hotel room, a restaurant or other locations removed from a casino, Station said.
The player is connected to an actual video slot or poker machine located on the premises, unlike other virtual games where no physical hardware underlies the game.
“Initially, we expect to target cruise lines and Native American casino/resorts with the goal of eventually expanding this service to major hotel-casino properties in Nevada and other jurisdictions,” Station Chief Financial Officer Glenn Christenson said in a statement.
He added that Station will begin marketing the product immediately in anticipation of a roll-out next year.
Analysts and other casino operators viewed the development with interest, but added that Station will face a number of regulatory hurdles in bringing its product to market. In particular, Station will have to deal with issues of keeping in-room gaming away from minors and finding ways to monitor the activity without overly intruding on guests’ privacy.
“It’s interesting, but I don’t know if this is something we’re going to see happen immediately,” said Robin Farley, an analyst at UBS Warburg. “They will have to go through regulatory approvals for things like electronic fund transfers. Therefore, we don’t expect this to be something in Nevada for some time.”
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Among the nation’s other big casino companies, some said they were waiting on the sidelines to see how the regulatory environment evolves, while others said they were taking experimental steps of their own.
Park Place Entertainment Corp., owner of the Las Vegas Hilton and Caesars Palace, recently introduced an in-room video service developed by Net Booth in about 100 rooms at its Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s resorts in Las Vegas, said spokeswoman Debbie Munch.
The service allows guests to get e-mail and information about their hotels. It also includes games for children, but does not include any gambling, Munch said.