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888's mobile betting moves could touch US

MGM rumors swirl

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British online gaming company 888 PLC is close to reaching an agreement with European wireless carriers to provide gambling services via cell phones - a move that could have consequences on the US’s bid to quash the online gambling industry.

According to Reuters, 888 “is in the final stages” of planting its services in the handsets of European operators. And 888 happens to be one of the companies rumored to be in talks with American gambling behemoth MGM-Mirage about a possible buy out.

Not only would that make MGM-Mirage a major player in the Asian and European online gaming world, but it could well be instrumental in bringing cell-based gambling a cheap flight away from American shores.

Rumors have been swirling that MGM is also looking at another British outfit, Ladbrokes, which has a dominant online sportsbook brand in Britain. If MGM purchases both, it will be able to bring both established sportsbook and gaming services to a cell phone near you.

And if a bricks and mortar outfit like MGM starts snapping up the online companies on the cheap, you can, er, bet that all those conspiracy theories about the real reasons for recent American anti-gambling legislation will continue to spread.

MGM had no comment. ®

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