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Harrah's Chief Discusses Future of Online Gambling

April 29, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – The U.S. legalization of online poker in the U.S. will probably happen, and Harrah’s will “enjoy a substantial portion” of the billions made when that happens, Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc, recently said in an interview with Reuters.

As its losses increase (Harrah’s first-quarter loss “widened to $195.6 million from $132.7 million a year earlier as revenue fell nearly 3 percent to $2.19 billion”, the article states), Harrah’s executives are surely looking for more revenue streams. And they’ve made no secret of that, starting an online division last year as well as partnering with 888 to integrate online gambling services in the UK market. (It will soon enter Italy and France, as well, according to the interview.)

But now, Harrah’s is being even more open about the fact that the future of gambling is on the Internet.

That’s something other gambling executives haven’t yet admitted (although they seem to be slowly coming around), giving Harrah’s an edge. Indeed, having started online explorations so long ago, Harrah’s is likely to be well ahead of the curve when online poker is finally legalized in the U.S. (Which would be part of the big master plan, right?)

“Loveman also stressed that Harrah’s remains interested in a presence in Asia, including China’s Macau, the world’s largest source of gambling revenue, but said the company has no immediate plans for the region,” the article added in an interesting sidenote. Read more about Macau and the Asian gambling market here.

Also noteworthy: “Aside from Asia, the CEO said priorities for Harrah’s include the potential expansion of gambling in states like Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland as well as the possible legalization of online poker in the United States.”

“Bills that would allow poker to be played over the Internet have been floated in both the U.S. House and Senate … Loveman said the legislation has a good chance of success, given that it would raise significant tax revenue, regulate a business that is currently unregulated and create jobs.”