ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Internet gambling analysts and casino executives say the increased use of cellphones to place bets could accelerate the growth of the nascent industry in the state.
"Mobile applications will play an enormous piece of the puzzle in online wagering, which is why we are so positive and see so much upside in months ahead," said Joe Lupo, senior vice president of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which began offering gambling Monday over Android cellphones on 3G and 4G networks.
Lupo's casino also allows phones using WiFi connections to access its online gambling sites.
The casinos won $7.4 million over the Internet in December. January's $9.5 million represented a 28 percent increase. But Lupo said those numbers don't take into account the vast potential of gambling over mobile devices and phones, which is starting to happen. Nearly 200,000 online gambling accounts had been created in New Jersey through the end of January.
Casinos including the Borgata; Caesars Atlantic City; the Tropicana Casino and Resort; Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort offer Internet gambling over mobile devices, while the Golden Nugget Atlantic City plans to launch the service next month.
The Golden Nugget's vice president of online gambling, Thomas Winter, said smartphones and tablet devices will account for more than 20 percent of the casino's Internet gambling revenue this year and more than 50 percent within three years.
The availability of cellphones and mobile devices varies widely from casino to casino, largely because state casino regulators are granting approval on a case-by-case basis for each casino's technology. The phones or mobile devices must meet rigorous geolocation standards intended to ensure that the users are within New Jersey's physical boundaries, a key requirement of the law authorizing Internet gambling in the state. Some cellphone networks remain vulnerable to technology that hides the source or location of a call, known as spoofing.