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Big Las Vegas Website Upgrades 'For-Fun' Gambling Offerings

18 June 2001

LAS VEGAS, Nevada –- June 18, 2001 -- Vegas.com, a big Internet website with Las Vegas information and promotions, announced Friday it will launch upgraded "for-fun" Internet casino games on its website.

Vegas.com joins a growing number of companies that are offering and promoting "for-fun" casino sites.

The website will launch "Playing 4 Fun," a not-for-cash Internet casino featuring not only standard online games like blackjack, slots and video poker, but craps, roulette, baccarat and keno as well. The online casino should launch in July or August.

"We've had different (online) games over the years, but nothing as cohesive as this," said Bryan Allison, director of content for Vegas.com. "We have really strong (visitor) traffic. A lot of people come into our site because they're interested in Las Vegas, so there's a strong likelihood they'll also be interested in these games as well."

In recent lawsuits against real Internet gambling operators alleging they are infringing on Vegas.com's trademark, Vegas.com has said it receives more than 1 million "hits" from users daily.

The games are being developed by Internet Gaming Software Solutions of Toronto. Vegas.com will be the first commercial site to use games developed by the company.

"Vegas.com has the ear of many of the property owners in Las Vegas ... we hope it will open the door for us to other casinos and interests," said IGSS producer Mitch Cutler.

Not-for-cash casino games over the Internet are also being offered by Las Vegas-based casino giants MGM MIRAGE, Park Place Entertainment Corp. and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. as well as big Internet portals like Yahoo! and MSN among others.

Some companies, particularly MGM MIRAGE, have stated these websites will offer an easy entry into the Internet gaming market, should it become legal under Nevada law.

Some consider these sites controversial, with critics saying they promote real gambling.

"The Internet games offer valuable practice for the time when money bets online become legal," said a Wall Street Journal story that was also published in the Las Vegas Sun last week. "Regulatory obstacles aside, turning pretend games into cash games will require little more than a software upgrade."

"(Launching a for-cash Internet casino) isn't our intent right now," Allison said. "Everyone's looking at it now, but there's a lot of problems in the way of that becoming reality. For now, we're just giving people something fun to do (on the website). We don't know how (Internet gaming) will shake out or what our part will be in it."

Vegas.com is a sister company to the Las Vegas Sun, and both companies' websites are linked to each other.

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