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Online Casino News - May, 2009

Brick 'n Mortar U.S. Casinos Now Supporting Regulation


  Seed Newsvine

by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer

May 23, 2009

It would have been nice to see the online gambling ban in the U.S. lifted from the sheer voice of U.S. citizens raising up (in arms if necessary) and demanding their right to gamble online. But since we all know that's probably not going to be the case, bringing in the heavy weight lobbying arms of land-based casino giants like Harrah's, is better than nothing.

Of course, the "smaller" online casino operators and affiliates taking in the lion's share of U.S. based traffic currently would rather just have things stay the way they are, knowing all to well that when universally branded names like Harrah's enter the market, there is going to be a big dent in business. Yet, the truth of the matter exists that this may just have to be the way things go in order to get online gambling regulated in the States.

Thus far during the battle to get the U.S. to regulate, land-based gambling giants have been adamantly opposed to the idea. However, as the economy drags lower and lower, business continually drops, regulation is successfully employed in other market like the UK, and legislation to regulate is now on the table, US-based brick 'n mortar casinos have been slowly coming around to the idea of regulating online gambling. In the case of the world's largest gambling operator - Harrah's - it's been more like turning on a dime.

Squashing all speculation that Harrah's was considering the prospects of online gambling, the company has formerly announced the formation of a new subsidiary called Harrah's Interactive Entertainment Inc. - being headed up by none other than former Party Gaming exec, Mitch Garber. Harrah's President and CEO, Gary Loveman, said in a press release that Harrah's is taking a "proactive approach" to expanding their interactive division, primarily in the European sector.

This essentially means that Garber will be working with World Series of Poker Commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack, to expand the World Series of Poker brand. Whether or not the U.S. decides to regulate or not, one would think this to entail applying for a license to do business in the UK. However, that's probably not going to happen. The U.S. has certainly left a bad taste in the mouth's of the EU and World Trade Organization, and allowing a U.S. operator to come in and steal away business while not allowing the same, would be downright heresy.

All things considered, Harrah's is probably going to push hard for regulation in the U.S., and then consider expanding into overseas markets. They've already invested over $400,000 in efforts to drum up support for online gambling regulation this year and are assuredly registered as a lobby group in support of Congressman Frank's current draft of legislation now doing the rounds in Congress.



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