Former PartyGaming Chief Mitch Garber Named CEO of Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment

by Lou on May 26, 2009

Poker’s Worst-Kept Secret a Secret No More
Now it’s official: Mitch Garber (pictured right) was hired as CEO of Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment. News of this hiring leaked out weeks ago in a Times of London story. I blogged about news of Garber’s hiring on April 15, when I wrote, “In what can only be called a show of confidence that change is afoot for online poker in the USA, the Times of London reported that Harrah’s hired former PartyGaming chief Mitch Garber.

“Although the Times report says that Garber’s role is unconfirmed, he is rumored to be heading a new Harrah’s division that will focus on the internet gaming operations as well as operations related to the World Series of Poker. Party Poker, you may recall, was a WSOP sponsor before being forced out of the US market by UIGEA.”

Harrah’s Positions Itself to Offer Online Poker
Late last week Harrah’s Entertainment confirmed these rumors—it was really more an open secret than a rumor—when it announced Garber’s hiring as chief executive officer of Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, a new subsidiary launched to oversee the international and online expansion of its World Series of Poker brand. Harrah’s Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman issued a statement saying, “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.”

Garber, who resigned his post as PartyGaming’s CEO last year, is expected to help Harrah’s launch a World Series of Poker-branded site in European countries where online poker is legal and expand into other countries as online gaming is legalized in new jurisdictions.

Betting On the Come: Harrah’s Announces Its Support for Barney Frank’s Proposed Legislation
Harrah’s also announced its support for Barney Frank’s (D-MA) legislation in the United States to allow licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from inside the United States.

Harrah’s “Free Site” Will Help Them Get Their Feet Wet Until Online Poker Wagering is Licenced and Regulated in the USA

Loveman said, “I do think the time has come, particularly for online poker.” Until that time, Harrah’s plans to develop a free World Series of Poker-branded online poker site to run in the United States and other countries that ban online gambling.

A free site would position Harrah’s to quickly capitalize enter the market once online poker is legalized. According to Loveman, “There are lots of ways to make it meaningful even though it wouldn’t be a rake (real money) poker game. Then in the event that others are successful in liberalizing online poker here, then we’d have an infrastructure ready to go.”

Garber will work closely with current World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, who will retain his current position and serve as president of the new interactive subsidiary.

{ 1 comment }

Yorkshire Pud May 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Do you think a Harrah’s operated online poker site would actually take off, especially with the rate Stars and FT are adding to their customer base?

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