Harrah’s Entertainment, owners of the World Series of Poker, announced on Friday the creation of Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment (HIE). The new subsidiary’s stated goals are to manage the global growth of the WSOP and explore an interactive marketing strategy for Europe.
The new subsidiary defines the role that former PartyGaming CEO Mitch Garber will play within the HET/HIE framework, where he will become HIE’s CEO. Garber, a veteran of the online-gaming world, jumped to HET earlier this year, though his role and duties were not officially announced at that time. WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack remains in that role, and also becomes President of HIE.
The forward-thinking move by Harrah’s positions the company well not only for European expansion, but for a quick expansion into a more formalized American market in the event the recent Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267) introduced by US Rep. Barney Frank. In looking forward to and planning for interactive and online opportunities, Harrah’s occupies one end of the spectrum of major American casino/entertainment interests. Several major casino corporations are represented by the powerful American Gaming Association, though the topic of online gaming itself has been a divisive one within the lobbying organization.
Harrah’s Entertainment Chairman/President Gary Loveman had this to say on the formation of Harrah’s Interactive: “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.”