Harrah’s Undenies/Reconfirms Mitch Garber Rumors

New WSOP corporate structure takes shape

by , May 22, 2009 | 1:03 pm

The former CEO of Party Gaming is on board with the WSOP to be sure … as CEO of the newly formed Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment. Jeffrey Pollack stays on board as WSOP Commish and President of the new parent company. All of this effective today, supposedly.

The official word:


LAS VEGAS, May 29, 2009 – Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. (Harrah’s) announced today that it has established a new subsidiary, Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, Inc. (HIE) to manage the global growth of the World Series of Poker® (WSOP) and explore a European interactive strategy.

“As the world’s largest gaming company, Harrah’s is taking a proactive approach toward international and interactive expansion,” said Harrah’s Entertainment Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman. “It is important we position ourselves to explore new markets as well as new technologies with our best in class brands.”

Mitch Garber, a longtime gaming lawyer and public company senior executive, joins HIE as CEO. Jeffrey Pollack, Commissioner of the WSOP, remains in that role and will become President of HIE.

In addition to growing the World Series of Poker, HIE will explore the use of interactive gaming technologies to expand the reach of Harrah’s brands globally, starting in Europe. With its renowned Total Rewards customer-loyalty program, HIE will be utilized to develop new opportunities to strengthen and grow Harrah’s customer base.

The World Series of Poker, in its 40th year, has experienced record growth in the last five years. Participants from 124 nations competed in last year’s tournament, up from 24 just five years ago and entrants have gone from 13,036 to 58,720 during the same span. The WSOP expanded into Europe in 2007 with the creation of the World Series of Poker Europe® held each fall in London.

Yikes, is it really May 29 already?

4 Comments to “Harrah’s Undenies/Reconfirms Mitch Garber Rumors ”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Does this mean you’ll get to say “Hi!” to the guy from HIE?

  2. scott diamond

    My 29th, I need to pack supposed to be arriving in Vegas tomorrow

  3. BJ Nemeth

    Notice how one of the two listed goals for HIE is to “explore a European interactive strategy.” I still say this has nothing to do with pending legality of online poker in the U.S., and stand by all of my comments on this issue on “The Poker Beat.”

    Again, there is a big difference between a denial and “we have nothing to announce at this time.” Harrah’s never denied this story; they just were waiting to confirm it.

  4. DanM

    I’m not too far off on your timeline, BJ … (funny how I’m willing to move my original thoughts back as the year progresses) … I think we’re drawing to a 4-outer at best in 2009.

    But it’s still more than a “just in case” move when you create a new company and install a new CEO. Politically, this is Harrah’s putting their money where their mouth is. And that’s not a small potatoes step when, theoretically, if you were wrong, you could really fall on your ass for putting your faith in online gambling out there.

    At the same time, all the focus on European makes it seem pretty clear that Harrah’s as a brand wants to spread its reach across the oceans … and why not do it with the WSOP?