CALIF. COMPANY EYES E-BETTING

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Southern California-based Action Online Entertainment is one of as many as 11 companies to have applied for Internet casino licenses from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

Meantime, the Nevada Gaming Commission will hold two days of seminars beginning today to discuss Internet gambling issues after the Nevada

Legislature recently gave the panel the go-ahead to adopt rules legalizing e-wagering.

Jim McKennon, a former Caesars World and Aladdin Gaming executive who heads Action Online, said he met with Isle of Man government  officials in March and filed an application before a spring deadline.

 

“The Isle of Man has a very sophisticated business  culture,” McKennon said. “They’re not going to overregulate Internet casinos because they know that would choke the industry.”

McKennon said Long Beach, Calif.-based Action Online plans to use advanced technology to prevent betting from the United States and other countries where e-gambling is illegal.

“We’ll have multiple waves of defense,” McKennon said, noting that no existing technology is completely effective. “Nothing is 100 percent.”

Internet gambling generated about $1.6 billion in revenues throughout the world last year via an estimated 1,400 sites operated by 250 companies.

 

A knowledgable source said that five of the initial Isle of Man applicants were from the United States, but he refused to identify them. But an MGM Mirage executive said Friday his company has applied for one of three cybercasino licenses slated to be granted by the small semi-independent island nation off the British coast.

 

Park Place Entertainment is believed to be interested in one of the licenses, but company spokeswoman Debbie Munch said Monday that Park Place Chief Executive Officer Tom Gallagher was unwilling to discuss the matter. Earlier this year, Gallagher said U.S. casino companies should take a go-slow approach toward the development of online wagering, citing concerns that the technology is not strong enough to prevent underage gambling and betting from settings where the practice is illegal.

 

Executives of Harrah’s Entertainment, Mandalay Resort Group, Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming Corp., all major casino  Pengeluaran SGP companies, said they have not applied for the licenses. Neither has Desert Inn owner Steve Wynn, said Wynn Resorts spokesman Billy Vassiliadis.

 

Julian Lalor-Smith, administrator for the island’s gambling control commission, declined to name the applicants for the Internet casino licenses.

 

“We are only able to award three licenses,” Lalor-Smith said. “It is likely that the licenses won’t be announced until late August or early September.”

 

The background checks of the Internet casino applicants are taking longer to complete than expected because the effort is labor intensive, he explained. Action Online has raised more than $20 million through the sale of equity and debt. The company spent $1,425.81 on its license application fee, but will have to provide a $2.9 million deposit and a $114,000 annual licensing fee if the company receives a license.

 

“We’re the most significantly financed e-gaming startup in the world,” McKennon said. “Our singular core value is that we will operate legally. We will not take bets from the United States.” If granted a license, McKennon said the startup expects to begin operations in September. The company has 42 full-time employees, with 38 in Long Beach and one in Las Vegas. Three Action Online employees are based in Europe.

 

MGM Mirage Vice President Alan Feldman said his company applied for one of the licenses because it’s uncertain whether the practice will ever be legal from within Nevada.

“We expect the Isle of Man regulation to be as strict as Nevada’s, and expect to be able to comply with Nevada regulation, as well as the Isle of Man’s,” Feldman said. The five-member state Gaming Commission must find that the technology exists to prevent under-age Web betting and betting from within countries and states where the practice is illegal.

 

The commission has scheduled public seminars at 9 a.m. today and Wednesday at the Charleston Boulevard campus of the Community College of Southern Nevada, 6375 West Charleston Blvd., Building D, Room D-152.

 

 

 

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