Canadian Home for Harrah’s Online
June 1, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – A report by the Montreal Gazette has revealed that, when gambling giant Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. goes online, that division of its company will not share its Las Vegas-based parent company’s home. Instead, it will be located north of the American border, in Montreal, Canada.
The news deflates somewhat rumors to the effect that the company possesses some sort of secret weapon in getting the UIGEA overturned quickly; it seems reasonable to assume that the Canadian home was chosen at least partially because of the currently harsh anti-online gambling laws practiced in the U.S.
The other part of the equation, of course, is the new CEO of Harrah's Interactive Entertainment (HIE), Mitch Garber. Montreal is his hometown, and he already has an office and about a dozen employees in the city, the article states.
"I'm really happy to bring Harrah's to Montreal," Garber told the Gazette.
Whatever the reason, the news is good for Montreal. As the world’s largest gambling company, the prospect of a new division of Harrah’s bodes well for any city lucky enough to receive it.
Other info from the Gazette article: Montreal was also chosen because of the advantages of basing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in an international location. "There is a hunger for World Series of Poker events, like PGA golf, with events taking place everywhere, whether it is Moscow, Montreal, Rome," stated Garber in the article. "Our intent is to deal with government and licensing authorities in every jurisdiction to grow the World Series of Poker."
Regarding Harrah’s online strategy, Garber told the Gazette that it would begin with getting the brand into areas where online gambling is already legal, such as the U.K. and parts of Europe. The next priority would be to help the legal fight to rid the U.S. of the UIGEA, and enter that market, as well.
Finally, Garber also plans to seek out strategic partnerships for the new online brand, as well as the WSOP. “This could, for instance, translate into a World Series of Poker tournament managed by Harrah's but run out of a Loto-Québec casino,” writes Lynn Moore in the article.