Gamblers watching an Indianapolis Colts game here may have a hunch that, on the next play, star quarterback Peyton Manning will throw a long bomb to receiver Marvin Harrison for a touchdown. But right now there is nothing they can do about it — casino sports books don’t accept bets on individual plays.
That may be about to change.
Boosted by improved technology that makes it easier to take bets on every play in a sporting event — rather than just the outcome — gambling-technology companies are on the brink of launching new products they hope will entice gamblers at casinos to keep wagering throughout hours-long games.
Just in time for the college bowl season and the pro-football playoffs, the Palms Hotel & Casino says it is in final negotiations to field-test a system called Rapid Bet Live. It uses touch-screen kiosks that allow gamblers to bet on various propositions throughout a game: Will the team score on a drive? Will it punt? Will something else happen?
Today, in Nevada’s sports books — the cavernous lounges filled with big-screen televisions and electronic boards flashing point spreads and odds for dozens of games — gamblers can already place so-called proposition bets on things as diverse as which team will suffer the first injury, which will score first and which will make the first first down.
Rapid Bet Live, developed by Progressive Gaming International Corp., will allow casinos to increase the number of these bets available to gamblers, as well as allow continuous wagering as a game unfolds, according to Tim Richards, vice president of marketing at Las Vegas-based Progressive.
"I’m excited to see the product and test it out during highlighted games like Monday Night Football," says Steve Forrester, general manager of Casino Fandango in Carson City, Nev.
Progressive envisions the system being used to bet on golf, ice hockey, baseball and basketball. It will be up to the casinos to devise the propositions to be bet on, which could lead to unusual scenarios in the faster-paced sports: for instance, who would score the next three-pointer in a basketball game. In a somewhat surreal twist — and one that isn’t currently legal in Nevada — Progressive hopes that spectators will one day be able to wager on televised poker tournaments. In other words, gamblers betting on other gamblers.
In Europe, real-time sports betting is widely legal and popular through interactive television systems, mobile phones and the Internet. In Great Britain, gamblers can bet on soccer, cricket, rugby and tennis using a television-based interactive gambling system. Internet- and cellphone-based wagering is also available throughout Europe.