The Las Vegas Sun reports that the name change is now official, citing chairman and president Gary Loveman as the source. The Sun gives no context, however, as to why this time he really means it, other than to provide a rather generic summary:
“The new name can open new opportunities for the company in the future.”
Hmm, a name leading to new opportunities? Harrah’s has been talking about the name change for more than a year — pretty much ever since they opened up their non-poker online gambling opportunities at CaesarsCasino and CaesarsBingo dots-com — but have never gone through with it, at least in any marketable or taxable way. But sure enough, a form filed with the SEC yesterday confirms that Harrah’s Entertainment Incorporated would now, finally and officially, like to be called Caesars Entertainment Corporation. At least in the eyes of Uncle Sam.
And while the new monicker may lend itself to illustrations of Loveman in a toga eating grapes and future mockery should Harrah’s-cum-Caesars ever wanna deny its imperialistic nature … some of us can’t help but wonder if there isn’t even more to it than that. Why now for such a bold move? Surely it will cost a few million bucks to get everyone new business cards and change the labels on bottled water … so what relation, if any, might it have to seemingly accelerated online gambling pursuits and/or, most recently, a (suddenly) delayed IPO — both specifically addressed in the same document as the name change.
Whatever you wanna call them, the parent company to poker’s beloved WSOP filed a fourth amended S-1 with the SEC yesterday — this one kinda a monster, weighing in at more than 300 pages of
corporate bullshit high finance mixed with legalese. Click here to read it all, and here to see all of Harrah’s filings since September … when they first seemed to have a new interest in going public, only to tell the Wall Street Journal no that wasn’t it at all, only to then say oh yeah, we are going public … and then just last week, no never mind!
It’s possible I just missed something in all these publicly trackable documents, and/or that this level of big business is simply beyond my ken. But what stood out to me, beyond the name change, is the first line of the whole thing, which says they’ll get back on track with the IPO “as soon as practicable after this Registration Statement becomes effective” … and the last line of a section discussing company prospects, titled “Our business strategy”:
Continue to grow our online business. Our globally recognized World Series of Poker, or WSOP, and Caesars brands and our strong online gaming management team position us to take advantage of opportunities in the global online gaming market and to continue to develop the infrastructure to support larger scale real money online gaming as it becomes legalized and licensed in new jurisdictions. In late 2009, we launched our real money WSOP and Caesars-branded poker, bingo and casino online sites in the United Kingdom. As part of our online strategy, we will continue to expand our online real money gaming offerings in legally compliant jurisdictions and offer for fun online gaming options in other jurisdictions. In addition, we will continue to expand our WSOP tournaments to international jurisdictions where we believe there is a likelihood of legalization of online gaming. We believe that the expansion of online gaming offerings will benefit our land-based portfolio due to further brand enhancement, customer acquisition in new channels, and marketing arrangements including incorporating our Total Rewards and cash-back for points programs into our online gaming sites.
We believe that additional jurisdictions will legalize online gaming due to consumer demand, a broader understanding of the need to regulate the industry and to generate income through taxes on gaming revenue. As such, we support efforts to regulate the online gaming industry to ensure that consumers are protected. We believe that the potential for online gaming is substantial and believe that we will command, at a minimum, our fair share in any legal jurisdiction. A recent H2 Gaming Capital study projects that the global online gaming market will grow to $36 billion in revenues by 2012. We believe that the largest opportunity in online gaming in the near term is the legalization of online poker in the United States.