Wall Street's Nevada Frontier

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Cantor Fitzgerald, the trading firm that lost most of its staff in the September 11th World Trade Center attacks, has made good on its vow to return. And its resurgence has a twist: a subsidiary, Cantor Gaming, is the pioneer of mobile devices that, among other things, let sports bettors in affiliated casinos wager not just before but during games, making possible a series of bets on individual plays. Balancing the hunches of sports bettors isn't so different from the firm's historic specialty of making a market in Treasury bills. This week the electronic Casino City Times reports a bill that would extend the service from public casino areas to hotel rooms. As BusinessWeek reported of the technology's introduction:

Joon Ho Hwang, a gambling economics expert at Korea University Business School in Seoul, likens traditional sports betting to buy-and-hold investing. Says Hwang: "In-game wagering is allowing bettors ... to become quasi-day traders." That's catnip for gamblers.

Want to know more about what happens when Wall Street technology hits Las Vegas? This Cantor Gaming YouTube commercial has its own message of freedom:

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Edward Tenner is a historian of technology and culture, and an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center.

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