Anthony Marnell III, the president of M. Resort, has stated that he opposed the legalization and regulation of the US online poker industry. In an interview he had recently given Nevada Newsmakers, Marnell made remarks strikingly similar to those made by Sheldon Adelson, the chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
During the interview, which was broadcast on Dec 28, Marnell stated that he agrees 100 percent with Sheldon and that “we’re pushing this way too far.” The interview was taped on December 13, just before the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on Dec 23 that it had altered a long-entertained opinion regarding the Federal Wire Act of 1961 and that online poker cannot be considered as a game of chance, owing to which the 1961 Federal Wire Act does not apply to it.
Marnell also informed his interviewer that his opinions on online poker legalization were his own, not inspired in any way by Penn National Gaming, which acquired M. Resort in June 2011.
Penn National Gaming acquired M. Resort, a hotel casino with 390 rooms, after purchasing its debt at a discount of 75 percent. But in April, the executive officers of Penn National Gaming informed market analysts that they were not in support of efforts made to legalize online poker although Peter Carlino, the chairman of Penn National Gaming, had predicted that the US federal government will soon legalize the industry. On Friday, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming confirmed that the company still opposes online poker legalization.
Marnell also said that he feels that legalization of online poker will lead to underage gambling and problem gambling. He said, “I just can’t see a scenario where you can truly secure that from young children. Once it becomes legalized, it’s taking it too far. I think you start to create addictive behaviors in the home that we can’t see as operators. We have problem gambling initiatives on the casino floor.”
Marnell is also of the opinion that the government needs to talk about controlled spending and cost re-structuring before attempting to convert online poker into a revenue stream to solve its budget deficit problems.
However, a large section of the gambling industry in the US does not accept Marnell’s views. Large gaming companies such as MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, along with the American Gaming Association (AGA) are continuously pressing the Congress to legalize the online poker industry.