The latest salvo in sports betting’s technological arms race has been unleashed by Las Vegas based Leroy’s Sportsbooks. The company has received Nevada Gaming Control Board approval for a dedicated iPhone wagering application, and the new software is already being made available to players.

The application was approved on a probationary basis by the gaming regulators subject to a field testing period. A field test is essentially what tech people refer to as a ‘beta test’ and is intended to put the app under ‘real world’ conditions to determine if there are any problems with the software itself or the wagering process. Leroy’s described the approval as “a major milestone in sportsbetting history” and marked the first time a mobile wagering application for the iPhone has been approved in a United States wagering jurisdiction.

Leroy’s already has a mobile wagering interface for Blackberry and Android devices, giving them coverage of 90% of the Nevada smartphone market. There are a few limitations—your cellular service must be provided by one of the ‘big four’ companies (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile), you have to ‘post up’ at a Leroy’s ‘brick and mortar’ sportsbook and—obviously–you have to place your wagers within the state of Nevada. For now, the Leroy’s iPhone app isn’t compatable with the iPad though a dedicated tablet based wagering client is currently in the regulatory approval process.

John English, Senior Vice President of Leroy’s parent American Wagering, thanked the Gaming Control Board for their blessing:

“We are grateful the Gaming Control Board, the Commission, and their respective staff have embraced the vision of the future with mobile wagering and our account based systems. Their work to review and approve our technical advancements serves only to improve the industry as a whole and to better serve the customer. The addition of the iPhone is a huge leap forward.”

The iPhone app and the other Leroy’s mobile interfaces will piggyback off of the wagering kiosks recently installed at the many PT’s Pub locations in the Las Vegas valley. Leroy’s President Vic Salerno referred to the PT’s Kiosks in touting the new mobile product:

“I am proud of our recent accomplishments with account wagering for both our mobile and kiosk platforms. With the successful deployment of the PT’s Sports Bet Live kiosks that permit account holders to make cash deposits and voucher withdrawals, and now the iPhone version of the Leroy’s App we are meeting the public’s demands for convenience-driven technology and wagering solutions.”

“Leroy’s is everywhere, for everyone, at anytime, and we’ve been here for 33 years. I have been doing this a long time. You see over time what works and what doesn’t. I can tell you that mobile wagering is where we are heading and I believe the rest of the gaming industry will follow, in the meantime we will continue to lead.”

The technology battle is just heating up and will continue when Leroy’s/American Wagering’s new owners—British bookmaking giant William Hill—assumes operations within the next few months. Mobile betting is a huge part of the UK industry and continues to boom, with revenues in this segment more than doubling from 2009 to 2010.

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