Harrah’s to Enter European Online Gambling Market

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/22/2009

As first reported on the Gambling911.com website Friday afternoon, Harrah's will be expanding its presence in the European market as it launches an aggressive campaign to move online and compete with current online poker power houses the likes of OnGame and iPoker.

Speculation is that Harrah's will join forces with PartyGaming.  Sources close to Gambling911.com have also suggested that Harrah's will be ready to launch its own online poker site in the US once the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is overturned.  That process is likely to begin this summer should an Appeals Court find in favor of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA.org) and its challenge against the UIGEA as "Unconstitutional". 

Harrah's announced on Friday that it has established a new subsidiary, Harrah's Interactive Entertainment, Inc. (HIE) to manage the global growth of the World Series of Poker® (WSOP) and explore a European interactive strategy.

"As the world's largest gaming company, Harrah's is taking a proactive approach toward international and interactive expansion," said Harrah's Entertainment Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman.  "It is important we position ourselves to explore new markets as well as new technologies with our best in class brands."

Much of the speculation surrounding Harrah's potential partnership with PartyGaming comes as a result of the Vegas gaming giant hiring Party's former CEO, Mitch Garber.  Garber still maintains "friendly" contact with Party executives.  He will serve as CEO of Harrah's Interactive Entertainment, Inc.

In addition to growing the World Series of Poker, HIE will explore the use of interactive gaming technologies to expand the reach of Harrah's brands globally, starting in Europe. With its renowned Total Rewards customer-loyalty program, HIE will be utilized to develop new opportunities to strengthen and grow Harrah's customer base. 

Harrah's owns the World Series of Poker, which this summer will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. 

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher         

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