MGM CEO Jim Murren has reiterated his expectations that legalized online poker will arrive to the U.S. already this year. MGM expects to be one of the first companies to offer legal games, Murren said.

MGM CEO Jim Murren has reiterated his expectations that legalized online poker will arrive to the United States in 2012, according to Reuters.

Murren made similar statements in an interview with CNBC in January, telling the TV station that "online gambling will pass in 2012."

Since then, a move to have an online poker bill amended to the Senate's payroll tax bill reportedly failed, leading to expert claims that the issue would be put on hold at least until 2013.

The dire prediction was made by a Wall Street analyst, Chad Benyon of Macquire Securities, who was reported to have told investors that no Federal regulation would be likely to be treated before next year.

Jim Murren, however, went on record yesterday on a conference call with analysts, saying that he still expects a bill to pass within 2012.

The MGM boss pointed towards political hurdles in Washington as a main obstacle for new legislation.

"It's not easy, not because it's a complicated issue," Murren said.

"It's becoming a clearer issue. It's because Washington is becoming more complicated," he added.

Murren further stated that his company will be ready to act once legislation is introduced, hoping to be on the forefront of a new market.

"We'll be one of the first horses out of the gate when it's approved," Murren said.

MGM Boyd has already taken the first steps towards positioning the company for regulation with the announcement of a strategic partnership with bwin.party digital in October last year.

Source: Poker.org