"We offer better scenery, better accommodations, better restaurants, and now, better gaming options, like handheld betting, which will allow guests to take their games along with them," said Assemblyman John Amodeo (R., Atlantic). "This new law is another step toward setting Atlantic City apart from other destinations."
Amodeo, who sits on the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, added: "Our younger patrons in the casino hotels just don't want to be stuck on the gaming floor if it's sunny and 90 degrees out. They'd rather be outside and relaxing at the pool bar or in the lobby. It gives them that option."
The measure was approved by both houses of the Legislature in June.
The handheld devices can be used only within the casino property and adjoining hotel, as well as any outdoor swimming-pool or recreational area. A patron must establish an account with the casino to use them. The devices will not work outside the casino or hotel.
Mobile gaming devices represented 0.01 percent of total gaming revenue in Las Vegas last year with $1.35 million of $10.7 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The devices are not used in Reno.
Amodeo said preventing underage patrons from accessing the devices was a key concern during a hearing before his committee earlier this year.
David Rebuck, the New Jersey Division of Gaming's enforcement director, has said a number of safeguards could be built into the devices to discourage that. Among them was requiring a PIN number to be entered every few minutes by the approved patron.
Sen. Jim Whelan (D., Atlantic), chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, said Atlantic City's struggling gambling industry needed to stay as competitive as possible. Casinos in Pennsylvania and other neighboring states have cut severely into the resort's casino revenue since 2007.
"New Jersey's casinos are the economic engine of South Jersey, and we need to give them the regulatory flexibility to adapt to new technologies and new practices within the larger nationwide industry," Whelan said. "By keeping pace with new technology and new advances in gaming, we can make sure that Atlantic City is on a level competitive field with our main competitor to the west."
Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or email@example.com.