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MGM Mirage to open Casino

Casino giant MGM Mirage MGG.N has chosen partners to develop content and infrastructure for its planned online gambling site, which could be up and doing business in as soon as a year, Chief Financial Officer Jim Murren, said on Thursday.

If the plan proceeds on time, MGM Mirage would become the first major U.S. gaming company to offer gambling over the Internet. Other casinos have “play-for-fun” sites now in operation, but MGM Mirage has been one of the nation’s most aggressive players in pursuing a true gambling site.

The Las Vegas-based company will use WagerWorks Inc., in which it owns a stake, to develop content for its site to be based in Britain’s Isle of Man, Murren told Reuters.

Hardware to run the site will be developed by Orbis Plc OBS.L , he added. “We feel they’ll be able to be vetted effectively through all the gaming boards,” he said, explaining one of MGM Mirage’s reasons for selecting the two partners. “We have to work with all the regulators, and develop infrastructure in the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom in general. If we get all that done, we could have a cash site by this time next year.”

Murren said his company has allotted about $10 million for its online gaming initiative which includes money for personnel, corporate structuring, evaluation of technology partners and development of technology.

The eventual site will be based off the British coast on the Isle of Man using a license won by MGM from the territory last year.

Murren said it is still too early to say how much revenue the new site could generate. He was careful to add that no bets will be accepted from citizens of the U.S. or any other country where online gambling is illegal.