Monday October 21,2013 : GAMBLING TO BOOST AIRPORT VIABILITY?
 
An unusual WiFi idea….
 
Two lawyers at an Indiana law firm have suggested an unusual but innovative idea to boost revenues for the flagging Indianapolis international airport – the introduction of on-premises gambling using mobile devices connected via a WiFi system.
 
Phil Sicuso and Joe Champion say the airport is well suited for wireless gambling technology that could bring in revenue to support more nonstop flights.
 
According to an Associated Press report on the concept, the airport has the space to create lounges in which adults in possession of flight tickets could be presented with gambling opportunities on hand-held devices connected to a central server.
 
By restricting gambling to adult bona fide passengers, the risk of threatening state land casinos with competition would be minimal, they argue.
 
Airport officials do not appear overly enthusiastic with the idea; Indianapolis Airport Authority president Mike Wells opined to AP that he thought it was a clever concept, but doubted that it would fly, whilst state legislators have shown a marked reluctance to expand gambling in Indiana even in the face of mounting competition from neighbouring states.
 
Our  readers will recall a similar gambling project a year ago at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport which was launched with the intention of raising $3 million for a new football stadium.  That did not seem to generate the sort of revenues necessary, with local media reporting that travellers spent less than $34,000 in total in the first six months of the year.
 
Chicago officials have also considered offering slot machine action at airports, but a Chicago Tribune analysis of gambling revenue at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas suggests airport gambling isn't as lucrative as some people think.
 
McCarran's 1,271 slots generated $25.6 million in 2010, or about $55 per machine per day, according to the Chicago Tribune. That was less than half the average of $118 per day generated by slots in Las Vegas casinos.