Friday, May 11,2012 : VEGAS GAMBLING GROUP CHIEF SPEAKS ON INTERNET GAMBLING
"Internet gaming is here," MGM boss tells land gambling summit
James Murren, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas land gambling giant MGM Resorts International, reiterated his company's interest in legalised online gambling this week in his keynote address to delegates at the 19th Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi, Mississippi.
"Internet gaming is here" Murren said, adding that his company is embracing that business and has partnership arrangements in place with European online gambling group Bwin.Party digital entertainment should the pastime be legalised in the United States.
Murren predicted that internet gambling would be "here this year", although he qualified that with a tilt at federal politicians, saying "It won't be here likely at a federal level because the federal government is doing what they are best at – nothing at all.
“It will be done at a state-by-state level and we will be actively engaged."
Murren said his company prefers federal regulation of online gambling. "It is better at every level than a state-by-state solution," he said. "You can more accurately regulate, enforce, tax. You can have a better crime prevention component to it."
But Murren said he is being pragmatic in saying federal control of online gaming won't happen.
"And if it isn't happening don't blame Sen. Reid," Murren said. "Blame the House Republicans. That's where it is being held up."
Murren is also clearly in tune with the trend to social gaming, commenting that the next big wave for the gambling industry is a convergence with social media.
"The major gaming companies have an enormous opportunity to interact with, learn from, partner with, collaborate with the gamers," he said, noting that the demographics of social media gamers are the same as those the industry is trying to attract to its resorts.
Contrary to some companies intimidated by the prospect of social media gaming, Murren said he believed it presented a great opportunity for companies that are willing to compete, and that have the assets and the horsepower to do so.
Murren reiterated that MGM would begin its cash-less social media gaming this quarter. A name for the site has not been decided, he said.
"We are going to do something better than what is out there," he promised, revealing that the MGM site would be used to drive players to its resorts and will be ready for cash gaming when it becomes legal.