Diamond I Rolls the Dice

If Wi-Fi hotspot provider Diamond I has its way, soon visitors to the country’s hottest gaming spots will be able to take their money and run—straight to the pool, restaurant or hotel room—without missing a minute of the action. The Baton Rouge-based company (formerly AirRover WiFi Corp.) has developed a handheld device, which enables users to play almost any casino-based game that can be digitized.

According to David Loflin, president of Diamond I, the WiFiCasino GS looks like a cross between a GameBoy and a Palm Pilot. Security measures will include biometric identification (a thumbprint) and location tracking (AirTrack).

“Biometric identification was one of the criteria that the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) set up, so that children couldn’t just pick up and start gaming,” says Loflin. “We’ll be using recognizable technologies—industry standards—for the wireless and back office. The real key is the biometric security.”

The NGC does not regulate, license or sanction on-line casinos, so any implementation of WiFiCasino in Nevada will involve a relationship with a “bricks and mortar” casino. The handheld gambling unit will simply act as portable access to what is essentially, the casino floor.

Diamond I hasn’t yet secured a casino to test the device, but the company is pursuing a Las Vegas resort/casino to serve as its demonstration site, as well as a major cruise line. WiFiCasino GS has yet to be approved by the NGC, but Loflin is confident a gaming license will be issued.

“We are in the process of both of those things,” says Loflin. “We are actively negotiating a site, and should have something in the near future.” The company recently announced that it is also pursuing a license for the product with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.—the body that controls the $1.8 billlion [Corrected 2/25/05] per year gaming market in the Republic of the Philippines.

WiFiCasino GS was the brainchild of Jason Davis and Mike Prasad. “Jason is the grandson of the late Marvin Davis of Los Angeles,” says Loflin. “He was owner of 21st Century Fox and brokered numerous big time oil deals. Jason and our CTO, Mike Prasad, came up with the WiFiCasino idea. Jason is a frequent resort visitor—it was his idea—then they came up with the biometrical side of this, and here we are.”

Once WiFiCasino is available, Diamond I hopes it will become a staple for gambling resorts, cruises and casinos around the globe. Users will check out a unit, which will draw from a credit card or link to a hotel bill for funds, and then gamble to their heart’s content at games such as video poker or digital slot machines. When they are finished, they will return the device and their winnings (or losses) will appear as a credit or debit on their card or hotel bill.

Diamond I will generate profits by earning a percentage of the gaming revenues.

Each WiFiCasino GS will be customized to meet the specifications of its host casino. Loflin expects some of his clients will want only one game made available, while others will want to offer a wide selection to guests wishing to gamble away from the casino floor.

“Customization is in the firmware,” says Loflin.

In addition to gaming, the devices can be configured to offer concierge services. “At any time, the resort can choose to implement optional modules that deliver customized features such as Internet access, resort and event info, audio/video features, account information, and checkout and billing,” says Loflin. Non-gambling media, marketing, and other amenities and services are handled by a modular system called MediaServe.

WiFiCasino users will have both their locations and their gambling tracked. Using OpenHand CRM/SRA, a full customer resource management and statistical recording/analysis engine, users’ activity information, location, and other data will be tracked, recorded and transmitted back to the server site. “It will also be sent anywhere else that the casino might need it to go, or the gaming commission could require it to go,” says Loflin.

Casino management will be able to monitor any active module or application in real-time using GSAdmin, a management and administration system.

Diamond I is a small, publicly traded company with just over a dozen employees. It also operates hotspots in half a dozen eastern states, as well as Louisiana and Arizona. Its recent name change is intended to reflect its new mission to bring wireless technology solutions to the gaming industry, both in the U.S. and worldwide.

“We’ve changed directions some,” says Loflin. “We’re still focusing in the Wi-Fi arena, however we’re gonna concentrate more on a Wi-Fi gaming product for casinos. We want to continue to grow this wireless gaming system into different areas and different states. We would like to be a name brand product that everyone recognizes when they walk in.”

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