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Lee Amaitis

President and CEO, Cantor Gaming

Last April, Cantor Gaming initiated a regulatory test of a hand-held mobile gaming device in conjunction with the Venetian in Las Vegas, becoming the first company to break through with such a device. Cantor CEO Lee Amaitis was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Nevada and later regulations drawn up surrounding this new form of wager. Now that the test has been concluded, Amaitis is anxiously awaiting the regulatory approval. He spoke with Global Gaming Business Publisher Roger Gros at his Las Vegas offices in October. A full version of the interview is available at www.ggbmagazine.com. Just click on the GGB Podcast button to listen or download the podcast to your IPod or MP3 player.

GGB: Cantor Gaming has been at the forefront of wireless gaming in the U.S. for quite some time. Can you outline the technology and the purpose that drove the formation of Cantor Gaming?
Amaitis: We’ve been in operation in Nevada for about five years.
The underpinning of the company was our financial-transaction technology. In the world of financial services, we act as an intermediary between banks and dealers around the world. We connect people around the world via secure electronic financial transactions of all kinds. The emphasis is on speed, so we developed a platform called “eSpeed” that connects the wholesale marketplace for financial products.
Because of the secure nature of this transaction we got into the bookmaking business in the U.K. with a company called the Cantor Index.
In order to make the Cantor Index more interesting, we decided that it was a good idea to invest in mobile technology. We spent years developing this for the wholesale financial industry and that was the underpinning of our products in Nevada.
You’ve got a test of a hand-held wireless system that has just concluded at the Venetian. Can you tell us how that has been accepted by the casino and the customer?
We went through the process of learning what can be done (in mobile gaming) and then working with the regulators, about how to offer mobile gaming within the confines of the resort, which is defined as the public areas of the resort-restaurants, lounges, swimming pools, etc.-except for the rooms and the parking garage.
Getting it approved by Nevada regulators was a very long process, but a gratifying one. And having a partner like Las Vegas Sands was very important because they saw the advantage of bringing something new to the table that can add incremental revenue, and not cannibalizing existing revenue.

What are some of the results you found at the Venetian?
Reports have been very good. The interesting part-which I could not have written better myself-is that most of the patrons said they would not use it on the casino floor, which is exactly what the casinos want to hear-players using it in areas where there are no games.
The criticisms were understandable and easily addressed. They wanted more games, more access to other games, bigger screens and the like-all of the things we have been working on, and once we come out of field trial, these are things that will make the system better.
What kind of demographics did you attract?
It was a very broad mix. I would have thought that you would have less slot play and more table-game play, but it was very even. There was no one age demographic that dominated. Everyone played and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
You have your own content, but can you provide content from others slot companies or table game providers?
We have content deals with several companies: Progressive Gaming for their table-game content, as well as Atronic and Aristocrat for their games.
We’re also very attractive to independent game developers because we have an open platform. We can decide what might be exciting and get it developed relatively quickly. That’s one of the advantages to having a server-based setup like we have. If you think a game has any traction whatsoever, you can just roll it out. If it doesn’t gain traction, you remove it with no harm, no foul.
How about sports bets on the mobile device? Seems like a natural.
That’s something we have been focusing on as well.
After we got licensed ourselves after going into field trial, we could really apply our philosophy of providing gaming in a comfortable setting. Whether they do it in a restaurant seat or a lounge chair or in the race and sports book, we can provide it. So we think this is a natural extension of our product.
In fact, we have a deal with M Resort to run their race and sports book, both physically in the casino and mobilely around the casino. It’s our software and systems that will power the M Resort race and sports operations.
We also have a function within the race and sports book programs called “in running” where the betting doesn’t end when the event begins. You can continue to bet on the event, whether it’s confirming your choice or hedging your bet. You can also bet on events within the events, like balls and strikes, runs or passes. It opens up many opportunities race and sports books never had before.

Where do you see your company in the next five years or so?
Cantor Gaming has been born out of the interest in technology and the transaction process. Wagering is just a financial transaction, so that gives us a very broad stroke in being able to grow. I see our company growing very significantly in the next two to three years. Coming out of the approvals and the testing process are major steps. Six months ago, it was a waiting game. Now, we’re rounding third and heading for home plate. Remember, we’re not competing; we’re providing services that make us partners with our clients and enhance their products and services.