A little over a week ago, Caesars Interactive Entertainment Director of Events and Sponsorship Simone Ricci let slip that the first-ever World Series of Poker event in Italy would be held at the Casino di Campione from Sept. 16-30. Today, WSOP officials confirmed that event, along with two others, as part of an international partnership expansion that will bring WSOP-branded events to casinos outside North America.
The expansion offers licensing deals to various venues around the world that will give them WSOP rights in their exclusive territories. These properties will not only host WSOP Circuit events, but also host year-round satellite qualifiers for both WSOP Las Vegas and WSOP Europe events.
In addition to the Italy stop, the WSOP has reached agreements with casinos in Morocco and Mexico.
"It’s time to emphasize the 'World' in World Series of Poker and more aggressively partner with leading casino operators at the regional level," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "We know players crave a WSOP-like experience in their home market and believe our organizational expertise and unique tournament formats will bring a winning formula."
The WSOP Circuit currently offers 20 stops throughout the United States, but in the 2015-2016 season the international component will be added, allowing a "true world casino championship to take place in 2016." That means qualifiers from both the U.S. Circuit and the International WSOP Circuit events will do battle in next season's National Championship, which will be rebranded as the "2016 WSOP International Casino Championship."
The first of the new stops to take place will be in Marrakesh, Morocco from March 7-15th, at Casino de Marrakesh Es Saadi. The first international WSOP Circuit event, which will feature eight official ring events and a series of side events, will award the winner of the Main Event and the Casino Champion seats into the 2016 WSOP International Casino Championship.
Then, in September, Casino Campione D’Italia in Italy will run their own WSOP Circuit event. Dates and schedules are currently being discussed and details will be provided once finalized. Additionally, Casino Campione will also gain exclusive land-based WSOP rights in Italy to offer satellites to both the WSOP in Las Vegas and the 2015 WSOP Europe.
Finally, the Casino Jubilee de Monterrey in Mexico will create the first International signature WSOP Poker Room, the first outside the Caesars family of properties. The room, which will feature comprehensive branding and décor, will also have appearances from former WSOP champions, themed tournaments, and merchandise available for sale. The Casino Jubilee de Monterrey is expected to hold their first WSOP Circuit stop in 2016.
"One thing that was clear to me from my time spent in the poker industry is that the passion for poker is ever-present, but players crave value, excitement and superior organization," said WSOP Director Gregory Chochon. "These new agreements will allow us to offer meaningful year-round benefits to our casino partners while giving poker players a more direct path to reach the ultimate WSOP dream."
More international offerings are expected to follow as the WSOP is currently engaged in discussions with nearly a dozen other casino groups.