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The Rise of The Mobile Machines
by Karl Yu

Take a walk through the business district of any city and you will see a myriad of pint sized technological gadgets.

Palm Pilots, Cellular phones, iPods, MP3 players, hybrid versions, such as the Blackberry, and a various assortment of other toys are being used for business or for pleasure.

The online gambling industry—or the gambling industry for that matter—never has been one to shy away from new technology. From slot machines, video poker, to the advent of online gambling, the industry never seems to be afraid to converge as long as it is of benefit.

The marriage of the internet and gambling impacted the industry, in much the same way the Beatles left a mark on rock music. The industry evolved from land based to the World Wide Web and suddenly, people didn’t have to travel to their local casino to play slots or a hand of poker. People took advantage and a big industry boomed.

But the American government, whether it was because of the Religious Right or special interest groups, saw fit to pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, in an attempt to cripple a thriving business. Many businesses closed down and much money has been lost since.

The industry once again seems ready to take the next step and it could allow you to play a hand of poker where you want, when you want. If people can talk on the phone, surf the net and even send an e-mail via a mobile unit, why not gamble?

Juniper Research, a telecoms analyst firm that deals with the mobile and wireless industry, is projecting that bets from the mobile gambling market, on a global scale, will grow from $2 billion this year to over $23 billion in the year 2011.

The potential for massive growth isn’t just limited to mobile gambling either.

“Juniper further expects mobile lotteries to show the greatest expenditure worldwide over the 2006-2011 period, contributing 41 percent of total mobile gambling expenditure,”

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act might not allow mobile gambling to blossom as much in the States, but that doesn’t mean that Americans are SOL and mobile gambling won’t find its way onto U.S. soil.

In June 2005, the state of Nevada passed legislation that paved the way for the use of wireless gambling units in public areas of hotel and casinos in Las Vegas. Cantor Gaming became the first company to be granted a license.

Seeing vast potential, Las Vegas Sands signed a deal with Cantor to provide two of their casino resorts, The Venetian and the yet-to-be-opened Palazzo, with mobile and wireless services.

According to the Sands, it was a good deal for more than one reason.

“As the internet gaming landscape continues to evolve this effort will put us in a strong position to evaluate and react to other potential opportunities,” said president and COO Bill Weidner. reports that close to 50 percent of Americans contributed to the online gambling business in 2005 and that the loss of U.S. business, in light of the UIGEA, set the industry back $7 billion in market capitalization the day after the Act’s implementation.
Will the next step in gambling’s evolution help recoup those losses?

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