RE: Ex-Party Chief to Head Up New Harrah’s/WSOP Web Operation

by , Apr 16, 2009 | 1:08 pm

According to the subscription newsletter Gambling Compliance:

Harrah’s Denies Garber Hire Tale

15 Apr, 2009 / GamblingCompliance Ltd. / Scott Longley
Harrah’s has moved to deny rumours that ex-PartyGaming chief Mitch Garber has joined the company to run an online operation which would incorporate the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas giant said the company “did not have anything to share” regarding the Garber rumours. He added: “We haven’t announced anything, and we don’t have any plans to announce anything.”

Suggestions that Garber was about to join Harrah’s have been circulating for months, and gained new currency when they were repeated in a Sunday Times story last weekend in the UK.

Garber left Party back in May 2008 having helmed the firm through a tough period around the time of the enforced UIGEA-related exit from the US market in October 2006. He handed over control to current chief executive Jim Ryan.

I dunno … doesn’t sound like that much of a denial to me. But maybe … who knows?

10 Comments to “RE: Ex-Party Chief to Head Up New Harrah’s/WSOP Web Operation”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    To sum up — “We haven’t announced anything, we don’t plan to announce anything, and there’s nothing we want to share.”

    Scott Longley needs to look up the definition of the word “denial,” because this ain’t it. This is a wordier version of “No comment.”

  2. DanM

    I agree … but don’t fault the writer for the ways of the hedline writer. They are seldom one in the same, and hedlines is often where the sensationalism comes in.

  3. BJ Nemeth

    Good point … except the part where you purposefully misspell the word “headline.”

  4. BJ Nemeth

    Oh wait, not such a good point. The opening line says, “Harrah’s has moved to deny rumours that …” I’d say that’s a misleading line.

    “Harrah’s has refused to comment on the rumors that …” may or may not be considered accurate, depending on how hard Harrah’s was pushed for a comment. (“Refused” is a pretty strong word.)

    To everyone but Dan: We’re only over-analyzing this tiny article because it was sent out before we recorded today’s episode of “The Poker Beat,” and if Harrah’s had, in fact, denied the rumors, that would have seriously impacted the show.

  5. DanM

    BJ, join the journo club and I will share with you the secrets of our code. Good stuff TK …

    ***Harrah’s has moved to deny rumours***

    They have moved to deny … meaning they are positioning themselves to deny, just in case?

  6. BJ Nemeth

    By that logic, you could just as easily have written, “Harrah’s has moved to confirm rumors …” Because they are clearly positioning themselves to confirm the basics of this story eventually.

  7. DanM

    How do you get that? I’m a little nervous that we could be totally off. Major news-ops do screw up every once in a while. I doubt it in this case regarding the relationship with Garber … but do leave open the possibility of the corporate set-up around him is off.

    But then why would the Sunday Times include that? They only had a tiny amount of space for it, after all. Of all the points that could be made, the writer had to make an original choice about which two or three to run with.

  8. BJ Nemeth

    I’m laughing because we’re commenting so much on an article that, on the surface, says so little. And most of our discussion hasn’t even been about the actual content of the story. 🙂

    One or two of the details could certainly be incorrect here. Perhaps it won’t be set up as a separate corporate entity. Perhaps it’s not Garber, but somebody with a similar background. Perhaps the WSOP will be kept separate from this new venture until online poker is legalized in the U.S.

    But if there was no truth at all to this deal, then I think Harrah’s would openly deny it in clear language, because it is the kind of rumor that could affect their stock price, etc.

    Actual denials don’t sound like this. It would have said something like “These rumors are completely unfounded,” or “We have no idea how this rumor got started,” or “Harrah’s is often in talks with potential WSOP sponsors, and this was misinterpreted.”

    *Something* must have sparked the Times Online to report this, because the original story wasn’t written in a way merely to inflame people and attract hits to a website. The original story was downplayed about as much as possible, so it doesn’t strike me as sensationalism. (It would be different if we first heard about this in a passionate post on a poker blog, for example.)

  9. DanM

    ***it is the kind of rumor that could affect their stock price, etc. ***

    Just to be clear — and I’ve made this mistake recently, too — Harrah’s is now a private company. So stock price theoretically isn’t an issue.

  10. BJ Nemeth

    I knew there was a reason I felt like an idiot as I wrote that. 🙂

    I still see only four possible reactions to this rumor from Harrah’s: Silence, No Comment, Clear Denial, and Announcement. Their wordy “No Comment” leads me to believe it’s closer to “Announcement” than “Clear Denial.” If they wanted a “No Comment” that was closer to “Clear Denial,” they could have simply said, “It is Harrah’s corporate policy not to comment on rumors,” or, the oldie but goodie — “No comment.”

    The more words they use to say “No comment” without saying anything makes it more likely (in my mind) that the rumors are true.