Harrah’s Entertainment announced on Friday that it has formed a subsidiary company, called Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, Inc.
The new subsidiary will be ensuring the global growth of the WSOP and forming the strategy to reach the online European market. Harrah’s customer loyalty program, called the Total Rewards, familiar to anyone who's played at Harrah’s properties around the world, is one of the key elements in the marketing efforts to Europe.
Harrah's Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman said: "As the world's largest gaming company, Harrah's is taking a proactive approach toward international and interactive expansion. It is important we position ourselves to explore new markets as well as new technologies with our best in class brands."
This move comes with nomination of Mitch Garber, formerly of PartyGaming, as the new Chief Executive Officer. Garber, who's got almost 20 years worth of experience in the industry, played a key role in PartyGaming efforts to reach Europe. WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Polack will be taking the role of President in the newly formed company, while still retaining his well known position within the WSOP-organisation.
This move clearly signals the change attitude of Vegas giants, and while it's still branded as a startegy to reach European online market, there is no doubt that Harrah's wants to be ready when US allows regulated online gaming.
Update: According to Las Vegas Review Journal, Harrah's will set up a free poker site with the World Series of Poker-brand, which can operate in the United Stated. The free poker site will allow them to quickly capitalize on the market when online poker is once again available to American users.
The site free site could be integrated with the Total Rewards program and with the large tournament at the Rio, Loveman said.
“There are lots of ways to make it meaningful even though it wouldn’t be a rake (real money) poker game,” he said. “Then in the event that others are successful in liberalizing online poker here, then we’d have an infrastructure ready to go.”
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