Despite what some inferred from recent comments by MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, the company remains adamantly opposed to a federal ban on regulated online gambling.
The company “wholeheartedly” opposes the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), Murren stated, adding that RAWA “won’t stop online gaming” and that the absence of regulated online gambling options only results in “illegal overseas sites” continuing to “put consumers at risk.
Murren was apparently responding to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal titled “Murren: Sky won’t fall on MGM if online gambling banned.”
The full text of Murren’s statement is available below.
While the article did not explicitly state that MGM had relaxed their opposition to a federal online gambling ban, the title, along with the quotes from Murren presented in the article, left some readers with the impression that MGM was backing away from the fight over RAWA.
MGM currently has limited involvement in the online gambling space.
The company owns half of the category-leading Borgata in New Jersey’s online gambling market, but does not operate online poker in Nevada despite being licensed to do so. MGM has no presence in Delaware, the only other state to offer regulated online poker or casino games.
Of course the sky won’t fall on us if an online gambling ban passes. Anybody who thinks that hasn’t visited one of MGM’s destination resorts. That’s the point: The argument that online gaming somehow competes with land-based casinos is simply baseless. Online gaming and land-based casinos are completely different experiences.
But even though our company will continue to thrive without online gaming doesn’t mean that we don’t wholeheartedly oppose a ban. We do. As I said in the interview, the Internet is here to stay. And until there is a licensed, US-based alternative, illegal overseas sites will continue to put consumers at risk.
A federal ban won’t stop online gaming — it will only prevent licensed, legitimate operators from providing consumers with safe and secure games that include protections against underage gambling.
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