At a discussion panel at the Global Gaming Expo this week, the heads of America’s largest brick-and-mortar gaming companies said that they are ready for when online poker gets the green light from Congress.

Terry Lanni, Chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage, and Gary Loveman, Chairman and CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment, both believe that online poker will be legalized in the United States within two years.Lanni thinks it could happen as early as a year from now.When it happens, he said, MGM Mirage will be ready to go.

Lanni’s company ran a short-lived online poker room back in 2001 (it was based in the Isle of Man) and feels it learned a lot from the experience."We closed the operation down with the thought that we know what we're doing, and we're prepared to do it if and when it becomes legal here," Lanni said.

Loveman had already said this week that Harrah’s is investigating the feasibility of opening its own World Series of Poker themed online poker room, even before the legal environment for online gambling changes in the U.S.The poker room would cater to customers in countries where there are no grey areas surrounding internet poker’s legality.

Both men agreed that it will be years before all online gambling is legalized in the United States.

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