The rich keep getting richer, or in this case, the gaming companies just keep growing and growing. Terry Lanni, MGM Mirage’s chairman and chief executive officer, said that even though the company’s first attempt at Internet Gaming may not have panned out financially, it was successful in other ways. “We closed the operation down with the thought that we know what we’re doing, and we’re prepared to do it if and when it becomes legal here,” Lanni said.
MGM Mirage set up an Internet Gaming site back in 2001 in the Isle of Man and consequently shut down the operation shortly thereafter. The website apparently lost money because they chose to undergo a very stringent registration process during a time when their competitors were very laid back.
The operation was successful because it taught the company how to determine a bettor’s age, location and how to protect problem gamblers. So, when the time comes, MGM Mirage will be in perfect position to re-launch and this time they will be bigger, better, and stronger than ever.
Gary Loveman, Harrah’s Entertainment Chairman and CEO and Lanni both share the belief that Internet poker will be legalized ahead of other casino games. Lanni predicted that online poker will be legalized within the next 12 to 18 months and Loveman predicted it would be legal in the next 18 months to two years.
Harrah’s, home of the WSOP is currently looking at the possibility of establishing online sites in places like the Caribbean because they clearly allow online gaming.
The executives agree that casino companies will be able to make up for lost time when they hit the airwaves because seeing the name “MGM” or “Harrah’s” online will certainly draw in a large crowd, bringing a sense of comfort and familiarity to people.
I’m not sure how much comfort I’ll feel when I see “Harrah’s” because I always lose when I play there, but since the MGM poker room is a favorite haunt of mine, I’d certainly be willing to throw some money onto that site and hope for continued success.
When the casinos talk, hopefully the government will listen. My personal belief is that if the major casino companies are interested in getting a piece of the action, then the future of online poker certainly looks bright.