Sports betting kiosks kick off at Spiro’s sports bar |

Sports betting kiosks kick off at Spiro’s sports bar

Laura Cianci

Sports betting kiosks quietly crept into town last weekend absent a lot of hoopla.

To use the Club Cal Neva’s SportsBook betting kiosks that are being installed in sports bars in Reno and Sparks, gamblers start by joining its Sports Connect system.

It’s similar to a players’ club except that the owner of the card deposits money to it. Gamblers then use this card to access the kiosk system and place bets on sporting events. There is no charge for joining.

To place a bet, gamblers swipe their cards, enter a personal-identification number and fill out their wager on an optical reader slip. The machine shows the gambler what was bet.

The first kiosk was put into operation last week at Spiro’s at Sparks Boulevard and Prater Way in Sparks. In coming days additional kiosks will be installed in the Lake Bar & Grill in Spanish Springs and all three Sneakers locations.

“The customers love it because they don’t want to go downtown,” said Spiro Gardikiotis, president of Spiro’s Sports Bar & Grille. “It’s a convenience for them and it is very, very safe.”

It took more than a year to develop the software for the kiosk system and another year to win the approval of the Gaming Control Board.

“Their testing was actually good for us,” said Jeffery L. Sari, chief executive officer of Club Cal Neva, describing the three treks to the board before all the glitches were fixed.

Among the Gaming Control Board’s concerns were the accuracy of the system, its internal controls that prevent late bets, communication protocols, and ensuring the system could not be accessed outside of Nevada.

The kiosk system was developed by Reno-based Key Consulting/Software, Inc. for Club Cal Neva Casino.

John Taylor, vice president of research and development for Key Consulting, said challenges overcome by designers included how to design the interface to fit on a kiosk screen and creation of a pad capable of accommodating players with large fingers.

Taylor said the final product is not complicated to use meeting a requirement by Sari that the system be user-friendly.

Club Cal Neva developed kiosk betting as a way to get a larger share of the sports betting market through improved convenience to its customers.

“It’s an easy way for them to get their bets down without driving so far to do it,” Sari said. “The idea is that the sports bar people will come in to make their bets and then stay at the sports bar and watch the game. It’s more convenient than coming downtown to place the bet.” Cal-Neva’s Sport Connect kiosks are connected to a closed loop Intranet system tied directly to the casino.

Patrons who want a kiosk card either must come to the casino or sign up at a sports bar on the day a Cal Neva representative is available.