The mayor of Las Vegas is for the second time in little more than a year exploring the idea of selling the name and city seal of Las Vegas to an online casino.
Mayor Oscar Goodman met with representatives from Virtgame Corp. for a third time Thursday, said the company's president and CEO, Scott Walker.
"[Mayor Goodman] is going to put it out for a bidding process, but I don't see how anybody's going to actually be able to beat us out for the bid."
- Scott Walker
Eric Pappa, the city's spokesman, said he had no estimate of how much money such a venture could earn the city and that he doesn't even know for sure if the idea will be pursued.
"It's all very exploratory; nothing's definite yet," he said. "We're just exploring the issue at this point, and if at some point we decide to go forward it will be put on a city council agenda and the matter will be discussed in public meetings."
The mayor has met with other companies in addition to Virtgame, but Pappa said he is not at liberty to tell the names of those companies. When and if the city decides to license itself to an online casino, there could be a bidding process to determine who gets it.
Walker is confident that Virtgame, which makes technology that allows gambling sites to reject players from jurisdictions where online gambling is illegal, will win the contract.
"It was our brainstorm, and as you can see from the press, we've had three successful meetings with the mayor," he said. "He is going to put it out for a bidding process, but I don't see how anybody's going to actually be able to beat us out for the bid. That's my expectation."
Walker said the mayor is insisting on several qualities that the company that represents Las Vegas in Internet gaming must have. The company must have operated an online casino with a proven server platform and have managed merchant accounts with major credit card processors, which Virtgame did for two years as an online casino, Walker said. In addition, the company must not have ever accepted a bet from a U.S. player. Thirdly, he said, the company must have a jurisdictional screening and age verification processes.
"These are all things we've got," Walker said.
Virtgame, in preparation for the project, has started a company in Las Vegas called Virtgame Las Vegas and has acquired the rights and patents from vegasone.com, which presented the online casino idea to the mayor last year. Walker said the proposed Web site will be a casino only and will not be open to play from U.S. residents.
Pappa said no URL has been decided upon for the possible Web site, and that even if one had been chosen the city would keep it a secret so that nobody could purchase it before it could be reserved for the Las Vegas casino.
"Everything's very preliminary at this stage," he said. "It's going to take a while to work some of those details out."