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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
US cyber casino goes UK
Casino roulette wheel
Virtual roulette wheels and gaming tables, available on screens everywhere
By the BBC's North America Business Correspondent, Stephen Evans.

MGM Mirage, one of the largest gambling companies in the United States, wants to set up on the internet what it calls a cyber casino for gamblers around the world. American law makes it hard to do that.

Internet gambling is illegal in Nevada, the state that includes Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world.

The gaming industry there wants it legalised but it is being frustrated by a law that bans gambling across state lines.

Some US states ban gambling altogether and the law is meant to stop people in these gambling-free states getting round the ban by phoning bets to Las Vegas.

Frustrated at Nevada's inability to accommodate its needs, MGM Mirage has applied to the Isle of Man for a licence.

Isle of Man - Douglas port
Ten companies hope to set up virtual gambling dens on the Isle of Man

It has told the American gambling authorities that its British-based cyber casino - complete with its virtual roulette wheels and gaming tables, available on screens everywhere - won't take bets from Americans or from children, though how that can be guaranteed is not clear.

The Isle of Man will consider the application along with those from 10 other companies around the world.

The authorities in Nevada do not prohibit companies based there from setting up internet casinos outside the United States but they can get tough if Americans in gambling-free states are shown to take part.

Just as with pornography or disseminating news, gambling is virtually impossible to control on the internet.

See also:

17 Jul 01 | Business
Blackpool: The new Las Vegas?
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