In a town where slot players yearn for progressive jackpots and craps shooters strive for point after point, it’s easy to see how an Internet casino with the city’s name is being viewed as an alluring venture.
Backed by some of the most respected names in the business, VegasOne.com needs only a bit more credibility to launch what it thinks will be the most visited casino in cyberspace, according to attorney Jim Jimmerson.
That credibility comes in the city’s good name. And if the city agrees to allow its name and seal to be used in the venture, that branding could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for city projects.
If the city does grant its name to the proposed Internet casino based in Australia, Las Vegas will get 25 percent of the company’s profits. If the city actually serves in a regulatory capacity, it will also receive 5 percent of the gross gaming revenues.
“This would not put the city of Las Vegas in the gambling business,” Jimmerson told the council during a persuasive presentation Wednesday. “It is not the sale of the name of the city of Las Vegas.”
Mayor Oscar Goodman, all but sold on the idea, received enough positive feedback from his council colleagues Wednesday to hold another discussion on the proposal Nov. 1.
“We will act with alacrity,” Goodman said after the pitch.
VegasOne.com came armed with a 500-person poll showing support for the project and the blessing of a former New Jersey gaming regulator, a current Internet casino expert and one of the world’s most esteemed gaming attorneys, Anthony Cabot.
Its board reads like a gambling dream team, with Jimmerson joining Phil Hannifin , former Gaming Control Board chairman and casino executive; Si Redd, founder of International Gaming Technology and video poker inventor; Larry Woolf, former chairman and president of MGM Grand Corp.; Dan Reichartz, former president of Caesars Palace; Thomas Hantges, president of USA Capital; and David Sklansky, a leading authority on mathematical strategy in gambling and author of numerous gambling books.
So why not do it?
City Councilwoman Lynette Boggs McDonald expressed concerns about the city’s liability, including how the casino will restrict use by teens and residents of countries where gambling is illegal.
Jimmerson said he believes the Internet casino actually has more oversight than a bricks and mortar gambling hall. Cabot assured VegasOne.com will indemnify the city from liability and carry a hefty insurance policy to prove its intent.
“The risks are extremely small, if at all,” Cabot said.
Loss limits will reduce the chance gambler will sue, he added. And Jimmerson said the Internet site will only beckon international gamblers to come to Las Vegas the same way religious pilgrims are drawn to places like Mecca and Jerusalem.
Christiansen warned the council that Nevada is on the verge of losing the Internet gambling race as companies worldwide begin launching sites.
The question for the council, he said, should not be about gambling.
“If the fear is people are going to be Togel Hongkong gambling from their bedrooms, they already are,” he said.
Catania, a New Jersey attorney and former director of that state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, said it’s better to regulate Internet gambling than to try to prevent it.
“You can protect against all kinds of things you can’t do in bricks and mortar casinos,” Catania said.
Boggs McDonald asked why the city shouldn’t put the prospect out to bid.
Jimmerson argued that VegasOne.com’s intellectual property is the reason the project will be successful, and the type of asset not subject to a request for other proposals.
Goodman and Councilman Larry Brown appeared the most satisfied about licensing the city’s name for the project.
“If we make $1 off a hat with a logo and $1 million off Internet gaming, it’s essentially the same thing,” Brown said.
Goodman said Beverly Hills, Calif., has made money from the numerous Beverly Hills Cops movies and that Off Track Betting “virtually saved the New York education system.”
“I love Las Vegas, and I would never do anything to harm Las Vegas,” Goodman said.