Casinos Bewail Missed Opportunity of Web Betting - Friday 26th of May 2006

NEW YORK As reported by Reuters: "U.S. casinos wish they had access to the growing universe of gamblers that seem intent on placing bets online, but companies claim they are not losing customers to the foreign operators that offer Web wagering.

"'It represents an enormous opportunity,' said Alan Feldman, spokesman for U.S.-based MGM Mirage, the world's second-largest gaming operator. 'And it is an opportunity that is being completely handed to foreign companies right now.'

"Standing in the way of this potential windfall is a 1961 federal law that forbids interstate telephone betting that the U.S. Justice Department has said also applies to the Internet, making it illegal for U.S. companies to offer online gambling.

"But the law is difficult to enforce on operators based abroad, who are luring a growing number of American gamblers to their Web sites, even as some U.S. lawmakers renew attempts to snuff out the business.

"...The number of Americans who placed bets on the Web doubled in 2005 to about 4 percent of the adult population..."

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