Harrah’s Ready to Enter UK and European Online Poker Market

by Lou on November 16, 2007

Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment, said he’s looking at taking the World Series of Poker brand into the Internet poker in the U.K. and Europe. He made that comment at the Global Gaming Expo, the largest trade show of the year for the North American casino industry.
Although banks and payment processors are prohibited from handling cash transactions from US based players to and from online poker sites under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that President Bush signed into law last year, Internet gambling businesses are treated differently around the world.

“If you take a look at the legal landscape in continental Europe and the United Kingdom, there are countries where it’s demonstrably legal and there’s absolutely no encumbrance,” Loveman said. “Those are areas that are very attractive to us.”
Tournament spokesman Gary Thompson said Harrah’s is studying the market and legal conditions before deciding whether to continue. It would not enter the online poker market “where there are any gray areas,” he said.
If Harrah’s is able to make a go of online poker in the UK and Europe, they will be poised to capture a large market share once UIGEA is repealed or legislation is passed that allows US based players full access to online poker and the cash transfers in and out of online sites that are part and parcel of the game.

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