Harrah’s: Expect 10,000 players in 2007

by , Nov 29, 2006 | 10:59 am

gamingexpo.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk about how big — or small — the next World Series main event field will be. Pokerati ran a poll a couple weeks ago to set the over/under at 4,001. And over at PokerBlog, the Shrink reports on a European betting line that anticipates a similar number. Harrah’s, however, is being a bit more optimistic … telling potential vendors at the Gaming Expo (which runs in an adjacent ballroom during the first days of the main event) to expect another record year, with “nearly 10,000” buy-ins. (See page 7.)

Pat the Tablemaker (have a click — he makes great ones), however, isn’t quite buyin’ it. He suspects they are more likely trying to justify nearly doubling the price of booth space — which may or may not be an attempt to compensate for a reduced presence from major online poker sites. Regardless, the questionable numbers have at least some of the “mom and pop” poker bizzers wondering if the 2007 WSOP will be worth their while:

—–Original Message—–
From: pat
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 9:55 AM
To: danm
Subject: RE: expo

One other thing to note about the expo for next year. Harrah’s has raised the price _very_ significantly when you compare the 2006 show to the 2007 show. Here’s the math.

In 2006, the show was open for 5 days, although the last day was shorter. Thursday through Sunday the show hours were 11:00 am to 8:30 pm, and then on Monday it was 11:00 am to 4 pm. Monday ended earlier to provide for the show load out. That makes a total of 43 show hours. The cost for a 10×10 booth was $2100, not including additional fees for electrical hookups, internet access, freight handling, etc. In other words, the cost of just the booth itself was about $48.84/hour in 2006.

For 2007, they have announced that the show will be open only for 4 days and from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm those days, for a total of 28 show hours. The cost for a 10×10 booth will be $2500, not including all the other costs. In other words, the cost of the booth will be about $89.29/hour in 2007.

Oh, but don’t let me forget to mention their sweetener: they’re including 400 pounds of freight cartage in that cost instead of the 200 pounds last year. In my business, we call that a BFD. Big. Fucking. Deal.

To raise the price of the booth from year to year by more than 82% is an absolute outrage; it’s really a big F-You to the vendors. But to do it in a year when everybody on the face of the planet (except Harrah’s, apparently) expects attendance to be about 25% of what it was last year is nothing short of preposterous, and especially so if the expected decline in main event attendance can be chalked up to Harrah’s sponsorship of the UIGEA and then Harrah’s refusal to accept third-party buy-ins to the main event.

Although nobody at Harrah’s can or will answer my questions along these lines, I suspect that they will refuse to accept or allow the online poker sites to buy space at the expo this year for the same reason that they refuse to allow the third-party buyins to the tournament. If that’s the case, what will really remain of the expo? It will be a bunch of small vendors like us in 10×10 booths that nobody will want to shop because the small guys aren’t buying the booth babes like bodog and the big guys. To me, it seems like the 2007 expo is going to be a disaster and Harrah’s won’t tell me why I should invest in that disaster. You might note that their promo materials don’t discuss expected expo attendance the way that they promoted it last year.

Ok, rant over.

Pat


www.lonestarpokertables.com

—–Original Message—–
From: Sharon Wayne [xxxxxx@lvrio.harrahs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 4:20 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject:

Hi to Everyone:

Following is information about the 2007 Gaming Life Expo and how you can reserve your space. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Sharon L. Wayne
Show Manager
2007 Gaming Life Expo
702.777.2310
702.777.2412-fax

————————————–

Greetings from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino,

It’s time to register for the 2007 Gaming Life Expo! That’s right, the time has come for you to secure your place at the world’s most famous gaming event. The World Series of Poker will occur nearly a month earlier next year, so we’re already in full swing.

This promises to be the best Gaming Life Expo yet because you had a part in planning it. We took your survey feedback and incorporated it directly into the planning of the Expo. Some of the changes you’ll notice are:

  • The 2007 GLE will occur over four days, as opposed to this year’s five, from July 5-8
  • Hours have been shortened to 11 am to 6 pm
  • We have increased the included freight handling per booth from 200 lbs to 400 lbs

We want to provide as many unique opportunities for you to showcase your company during the WSOP which is why we’re packing a wide variety of thrilling new signage and sponsorship opportunities into next year’s Expo. Some of the premier offerings include:

  • Gaming Life Expo Title sponsorship gives you maximum exposure before and during the Expo
  • GLE Casino sponsorship allows you to decorate, design, and brand live gaming action on the Pavilion stage
  • Placing your logo on the Rio WSOP building wrap showcases your company to the entire tourist corridor

Check out our all new website at www.harrahs.com/gaminglifeexpo. Here you’ll find our sales brochure, floor plan, and pictures from the 2006 Expo. Beginning on November 15 you’ll be able to complete your booth application directly from the site. Remember to submit your business information form (BIF) as well!

We’re really excited about next year’s event and we hope you are too. Don’t miss out on all the action. Reserve your booth, sign, and/or sponsorship today!

Jonathan Tilghman
Executive Marketing Associate
Paris, Bally’s, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

Sharon L. Wayne
Show Manager
2007 Gaming Life Expo
702.777.2310
702.777.2412-fax

—–Original Message—–
From: pat
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 1:03 PM
To: danm
Subject: RE: WSOP & Gaming Life Expo

[…] If Phil Gordon’s estimate that the Main Event next year will fall to like 2200 players due to Harrah’s restriction on third-party buy-in’s (and assuming they don’t reverse the policy) then I’m not sure it will be worth it to go out there again next year. Unless they decrease the cost very substantially — like by 75%. […]

Patrick Mulry, President
Lone Star Poker Tables LLC
Dallas, Texas

www.lonestarpokertables.com


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