Harrah’s Inc. Is Now Caesars Corp (We Think)

A new era of online poker imperialism upon us?

by , Nov 23, 2010 | 11:34 am

Oh Yeah? Regardless of what you call them, the WSOP parent company’s old logo was like so 2010.

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.

4 Comments to “Harrah’s Inc. Is Now Caesars Corp (We Think) ”

  1. BWoP

    It’s not that out of whack to go through a rebranding of the parent corporate entity. MGM recently changed its parent corporate name to MGM Resorts International (and in the process, dropping the less prestigious Mirage name). Harrahs obviously isn’t the crown jewel in the empire, so timing the name change with the IPO (ticker would be CZE, I think, which is a move away from the old HET) makes sense. As for the timing of the IPO happening / not happening – it’s only going to happen if the company is guaranteed a price within a certain range. If the market isn’t going to pay enough for the stock, the offering will be delayed until conditions become more favorable.

  2. Dan Michalski

    CZE looks like something you see during the Olympics, lol.

    I agree it’s not that odd to rebrand a company — though MGM just lost the part of the name we never included anyhow. This … it’s more the why right now that has me curious.

    Originally, a planned IPO was scrapped when Harrah’s failed to get a license in Macau … but now they WERE saying it was about building new casinos here in the US.

    I didn’t have time to go research exact dates, but if you look over the last two years, you will see an interesting waffling between, we’re not going public, oh we are, we’re changing the name to Caesars, no we’re not … even this final and official name change was delayed kinda strangely by a month.

    Agree that ultimately it’s about market price, which is why I’m wondering if they saw reason that their price could be more in the near future. Initially I thought they mighta pulled it just to not look so puny compared to GM, lol … because you know such an IPO would be closely watched by the mainstream financial news.

  3. BWoP

    I used to live in CZE! (Correction: New stock symbol would have been CZR.)

    Anyway, if I had to guess, they wanted to time the re-branding with the IPO launch, and they were *that close* to pulling the trigger that they timed the filing of the name change paperwork and all of the internal stuff (press releases, changes in email addresses, etc) for the proposed launch date.

    The form of amendment to the certificate of incorporation was filed with previous iterations of the S-1, which is why everyone knew that the name change was coming.

    As for some of the underlying stuff . . . this is an IPO that will be dilutive to the existing equity holders (mainly Apollo / TPG) rather than an exit for the existing equity holders (other than Paulson). Unless Caesars is totally cash strapped, the existing equity isn’t going to allow that kind of dilution unless Caesars is getting the right price for the stock.

  4. Dan Michalski

    you are right, btw … it is CZR — http://investor.harrahs.com/