Reuters Securities – MGM Mirage and Sun International Hotels Ltd. were two of three recipients of online gaming licenses from the Isle of Man, a British possession, positioning the pair to offer online gaming in the United States if and when such gaming is deemed legal.
The other two licenses went to Littlewood Leisure, a British-based gaming company.
The awarding of licenses to MGM Mirage and Sun marks the latest move in what has become a quick march toward online gaming in the United States. The legality of such gaming is a federal issue, which is now being debated in the Congress and federal court system.
Anticipating a decision that may favor such gaming, Nevada became the nation’s first state earlier this year to set up a framework for regulating online gambling.
State regulatory officials have held forums on the topic, and will eventually draft rules to address such issues as keeping minors from gambling and blocking wagers from being made across state lines in violation of interstate commerce laws.
“We look forward to operating an Internet gaming site from the Isle of Man because its government has chosen to develop proper licensing and regulation,” Terry Lanni, chairman of MGM Mirage, said in a statement.
He said MGM Mirage plans to move forward “deliberately but cautiously” with its online gaming venture.
“We intend to work closely with the Isle of Man government and domestic regulatory authorities to develop a safe, secure and enjoyable Internet Online Casino Singapore gaming system which provides satisfactory assurances that Internet wagers are only accepted from jurisdictions in which such activity is legal, that underage gaming is prevented, and that access to problem gamblers is limited.”
MGM Mirage said the number of online gaming sites worldwide is now estimated at more than 1,400, and that online gaming revenues were conservatively estimated at more than $1.5 billion last year.
Bear Stearns analyst Jason Ader said that both MGM Mirage and Sun International should be able to take advantage of their established brands to market their online products.
“In our view, the Isle of Man could be one of the first key gaming jurisdictions (outside Australia) that will have the appropriate licensing and regulations that we feel are crucial to the success of this industry,” Ader wrote in a research note.