Thursday April 30,2015 : THE INTERNET IS HERE TO STAY, SAYS M.G.M. CHIEF EXEC.
But a federal ban will not cripple his company.
In a wide-ranging press conference this week Jim Murren, chairman of the American Gaming Association and chief executive officer of Las Vegas gambling group MGM Resorts International, opined that the Internet is here to stay, but that if a Sheldon Adelson-inspired federal ban on internet gambling were to succeed, it would not cripple his company.
And he declined to reveal how big an investment his company has made in online gambling so far as a supporter of state by state legalization of the genre.
He expressed other opinions regarding the US industry, too, including:
* Las Vegas as a complete entertainment experience is unlikely to fail if Nevada were to lose its virtual monopoly on sports betting through the overthrow of current federal bans on the practice elsewhere in the United States.
That is likely to encourage New Jersey politicians, who remain mired in litigation with the national sports leagues in the fight to get around the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
* The gaming industry as a whole failed to present a cohesive and positive effort in 2012 when moves to legalise online gambling at the federal level failed, opening the way for major-funded anti-online gambling campaigns that put the industry on the back foot.
* The American Gaming Association is putting in a major political effort ahead of the presidential elections next year in order to showcase the contribution to communities and the national and state economies of the land gambling industry.
Murren claimed that the industry has been poorly understood and not fully appreciated despite its presence in 40 states and generating employment for over 360,000 Americans.
He revealed that the Association is gearing up its political action committee and has already launched its "Gaming Votes" campaign.
* Despite the significant declines in Macau revenues, Murren said he is positive about the gambling enclave's future, as evidenced by his company's new venture there, due to open in 2016.
There remains a vast reservoir of players in China who have to date not visited Macau and there is still good potential for medium term business, he said, adding that revenues were likely to remain "choppy" for most of 2015, but would level out towards the end of the year.
Macau's troubles should be viewed in perspective, he observed, noting that despite the recent decline in revenues, these are still in excess of the US gambling market.
* The rise of daily fantasy sports has prompted the AGA to consider the possibility of its members becoming involved in the phenomenon and the best way to do so, Murren revealed, asserting strongly that despite opinions to the contrary – and federal law exemptions – this is a form of gambling.
He explained that due to uncertainty on the regulatory front the Association has so far steered clear of entering this commercial sector, but opined that it could not be ignored.