MGM estimate online casino ‘will happen when it happens’
By Paul
MGM Mirage still intends to develop an Internet casino. But company executives admit they don’t know when that will happen.

They say they first want to be certain the technology exists to prevent illegal Internet betting and that casino industry regulators are comfortable with any arrangement.

MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni has been the casino industry's most forceful advocate of expansion into the operation of cybercasinos, although he has said his company will not accept bets from within U.S. borders so long as that practice is considered illegal.

'It's going to happen when it happens,' Murren said of the introduction of an MGM Mirage betting site. 'We didn't set a deadline for ourselves.'

MGM Mirage President and Chief Financial Officer Jim Murren: 'We said from the beginning we weren't going to go down this road at all without the cooperation and blessing of the respective gaming regulators who govern us'.

For much of the past year, MGM Mirage has worked with WagerWorks to present such online games as video poker and slots from its Web site, which do not offer monetary prizes but rather such giveaways as vacation packages, buffet meals, show tickets and hotel rooms. Nevada gaming regulators have ruled the practice is legal.

WagerWorks' Pascal, a founder of the mid-1990s slot innovator Silicon Gaming and a nephew of Desert Inn owners Steve and Elaine Wynn, said his company does have the technology to prevent illegal and underage online wagering -- but he offered a caveat.

'We can guarantee compliance standards that meet or exceed what you have in land-based casinos,' Pascal said. 'The reality is today there is a minor playing (somewhere) on the casino floor in Las Vegas. There is not this 100 percent compliance. To hold the online industry to that standard is just unreasonable.”

Web betting from within U.S. borders is believed by some federal prosecutors to be illegal, although some observers have questioned whether a 4-decades-old law prohibiting interstate phone wagering also pertains to online betting.

A House Judiciary subcommittee voted Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to ban the practice. The bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., would amend the U.S. Wire Act of 1961, although similar proposals have stalled during recent congressional sessions.

 
 
 
 
 
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