An American software developer with a yen to work at home while raising a child has created what may be the first wireless Internet casino: WirelessWinnings.
Owner Brad Schuler admits that he really developed the WML site intending to sell it off. (Similar to HTML that's used for Internet sites, WML is the language used for WAP or wireless application protocol sites.)
Beta testing of the site using free play should conclude within two months.
Given the unclear legislative situation in the United States, before offering real-money wagering, the company server will be moved offshore to a jurisdiction that licenses Internet gaming.
The actual casino is very different from those found online; it lacks the color and attractive graphics showcased by most Internet casinos. (Screen shots of the site can be viewed at www.wirelesswinnings.com) Instead, it offers two games: blackjack and draw poker. (Most wireless devices have tiny screens that cannot accommodate moving graphics or color.) In addition, Schuler recently added a number generator for customers to use when choosing lottery numbers.
He has also developed a back end system that tracks players' accounts, provides player bonuses and even send messages to players when they log on. "I've noticed the conflict surrounding credit card usage online," Schuler adds. He's avoided that by setting up the site to accept third party payments systems, such as PayPal.
Schuler's target audience includes a worldwide market. "We've had beta testers from all over the world, including Israel, Holland, South Africa and India," he explained. In preparation to offering live betting, Schuler has gotten some banner ads ready, and is working to develop targeted advertising.
WirelessWinnings is currently available only in English now, a situation that will easily be remedied. Schuler intends build in more languages soon, including Japanese, French, German and Spanish. This is an important addition, as WAP usage remains more prevalent in Europe.
Until some investors or a buyer shows up, Schuler is working on the site by himself. He's already spent nine months time developing it, he added. In the end, he admits, he just wants to make enough money to stay at home with his new daughter. While some might find that a limited business plan, its simplicity might just be a winner for Schuler.
Vicky Nolan joined the IGN staff in October 1999. She's best known for inventing fire, the wheel and swiss cheese. She can be reached at email@example.com