LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – New Democratic leadership in the U.S. Congress could provide a chance to explore legalization of online gambling, the chief executive of casino operator MGM Mirage said on Wednesday.
A new U.S. law making it illegal for banks, credit card companies and online payment systems to process payments to online gambling companies “makes no sense whatsoever,” MGM CEO Terry Lanni said at a gambling conference held here.
“The Republican Party pandered to the religious right,” he added.
In October, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee was successful in tacking the Internet gambling ban onto a popular bill on port safety.
Frist is retiring from Congress as he mulls a possible run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
Passage of the U.S. law pummeled shares of British-listed Internet gambling companies, which have since withdrawn from the U.S. market.
“Britain wants to be second to none in regulation of Internet gambling … We firmly believe that the way forward is to regulate, rather than prohibit,” said Peter Dean, chairman of Britain’s Gaming Commission, who also spoke at the conference.
Lanni said MGM would like to see a study commissioned to examine whether online gambling can be successfully regulated in the United State.
The American Gaming Association, of which Lanni is the current chair, is expected to decide in December whether to pursue legislation calling for such a study.
Dean said that from a British perspective, the U.S. ban is puzzling, in that “prohibition doesn’t have a conspicuous record of success in this country … the obvious result is that the activity is going to be driven underground.”
Wynn Casino Resorts Plans Macau Expansion
Wynn Togel Resorts announced Wednesday of the further expansion of Wynn casino in Macau. This new expansion will add a second self-contained, fully integrated resort hotel with all related amenities including food and beverage, retail, entertainment and a casino to the existing property.
Certain portions of the gaming area of the new hotel are part of the previously announced expansion of Wynn Macau, which is expected to open as soon as Chinese New Year in February 2007, less than 90 days from now.
These gaming areas are included in the previously announced $1.2 billion budget for Wynn Macau. The new games will be operated in the short term as a second phase of its existing hotel casino until the balance of the project is completed.
The new hotel is currently scheduled to carry the name “Wynn Diamond Suites,” reflecting the all suite character of its room inventory. The final statistics concerning key total and related budget information will be available as soon as the budgeting process has been completed, which we expect to be in the second quarter of 2007.
Financing for the new hotel is yet to be arranged and requires the approval of our existing lenders.