Atlantic City at night,
before Sandy.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ-As casino owners and the hospitality industry start to count out just how much Sandy will cost them – and continue to worry about lost revenue – one option emerges: mobile gambling.  Joseph Rosenbaum partner & global chair, Advertising Technology & Media Law Practice, of Reed Smith LLP outlined the issue in a recent blog post on LegalBytes.com earlier this month. However, with no set date for Atlantic City casinos to reopen, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, those who want to pick up revenue as quickly as possible may start to see mobile gambling as a viable option.

“The regulation of mobile gambling by New Jersey and other jurisdictions, is an inevitable outgrowth of the reality of today’s technology,” Rosenbaum commented, via email.  “Certainly, the licensing of existing gambling establishments to enable a variety of new technologies that can be used while on the premises, makes sense – perhaps analogous to the introduction of free-standing slot machines once that technology had become available. “

And it might just be the only option for casinos to stop losing even more money. Sources indicate that casinos are losing around $5 million per day. According to the Inquirer, officials are hesitant to announce a solid date on which they can reopen, despite many having suffered only minimal damage. Lisa Spengler, spokeswoman for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, was quoted in the article and said, “No decision as to the reopening of the casinos will be made until such time as the governor’s mandatory evacuation executive order is lifted and all safety issues surrounding Atlantic City, its residents, and visitors have been addressed.”

Since everything else is already online, why not go mobile? You can date, order a pizza, take pictures and read the news on a smartphone these days; gambling is just another step. However, Rosenbaum cautions that the process may be difficult to regulate. For instance, challenges include keeping underage users off the systems and ensuring that everything runs smoothly and fairly.

Yet it is in the owners and operators’ best interests to look to mobile gambling. As Rosenbaum explains from a legal standpoint, “the challenge will be to adapt laws and regulations originally crafted for a physical, hard-wired environment, to a digital, virtual online and wireless one, in a way that preserves enforcement capability without needlessly restricting permissible and economically attractive revenue opportunities for many of these licensed operators.”

So until Atlantic City is given the go-ahead to spring back to life, hopping online may be the best bet for casino operators to recoup – if not halt – some of the losses they’ve experienced since Sandy struck.