|Responding to criticisms of cybercasinos, MGM MIRAGE is to demonstrate to regulators how it will be able to verify the identification, age and location of every player at their Internet casino.|
Paul Mathews, vice president of government affairs for WagerWorks, said the company doesn't have a date set to demonstrate the technology to regulators in the United States and abroad, but that it would occur before the launch of the Internet casino.
That could all be before the end of the year, MGM MIRAGE company officials say.
MGM MIRAGE was licensed for Internet gambling last September on the Isle of Man, an island nation under the jurisdiction of Great Britain. The company was the first major Las Vegas gambling corporation to obtain an off-shore license.
The comments were made Friday in a discussion on the advancement of Internet gaming within the casino industry at the four-day Millennium Hospitality Summit at The Venetian and The Rio hotel-casinos.
Andrew Pascal, president and chief executive officer of WagerWorks, a panelist at the event, said, 'We have the means for ID verification, age validation and geo-verification'.
The technology uses computer hardware that can scan a thumbprint to identify a player and a global positioning satellite system to pinpoint a player's location.
Internet gambling is not legal in the United States, but most of the players at off-shore casinos are from the US. The industry is expected to grow to $4 billion this year and to $6 billion by 2003 after generating $2.2 billion in 2000, according to industry experts.
By comparison, Nevada's land-based gaming industry generated $9.6 billion in 2000.
Panelist Marc Falcone, an analyst with Bear Stearns, said casino companies no longer fear that Internet casinos will syphon off business from their brick and mortar casinos.
Bill Hornbuckle, executive vice president of MGM MIRAGE and head of the company's Internet gambling efforts agreed. He said the company looks at the Internet venture as an extension of the company's brand and just as riverboats and Indian casinos have not decimated traditional casinos, Internet gambling won't have a negative impact on existing business.
'We expect little to no erosion of our core market,' Hornbuckle said.