TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Adults who patronize Atlantic City‘s casinos will soon be able to gamble at the pool or while waiting in line at the buffet.
Mobile gambling will, however, be restricted to the casino property.
Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli of West Deptford, who co-sponsored the bill, said hand-held gambling devices are a smart adaptation of technology that will help keep the casinos competitive in an ilncreasingy crowded market.
Proponents say the mobile devices could provide a significant new revenue stream to struggling casinos in Atlantic City, known as the “Gambling Capital of the East Coast.”
Christie, who has backed efforts to make New Jersey’s casinos more competitive, signed the bill into law privately without fanfare.
“In order to position Atlantic City to remain competitive with neighboring states, we need to embrace the future,” Democratic Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. of Hoboken, another sponsor, said Wednesday.
The new law allows casinos to offer electronic versions of authorized games to be played on mobile devices within the property boundaries of any casino hotel facility. Devices will be owned and controlled by the casinos, and handed out to patrons who establish a pre-paid account with the casino.
Nevada approved hand-held gambling devices in 2006, allowing them only in public areas of casinos.
The state Division of Gaming Enforcement will now have to come up with regulations to ensure the integrity of the devices and to make sure they are kept out of the hands of underage patrons.
Division Director David Rebuck has said there are a number of safeguards that could be built into the devices to discourage underage gambling, such as requiring the re-entry of a PIN number into the device every few minutes.
The change comes as Atlantic City is working to pull itself out of a more than five-year revenue decline that followed the establishment of casino gambling in Pennsylvania.
Will you use mobile gambling devices at Atlantic City? Let us know below…
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)