Casino conglomerate Harrah’s Inc. first tested the waters of the online casino world when they hired former Party Poker Chief Exexutive Officer Mitch Garber to run their newly-formed Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment branch earlier this summer. Since Garber’s hiring the poker world has not heard much about impending changes to the popular WorldSeriesofPoker.com or any immediate plans for Harrah’s to take their popular casino brands online.
All that changed last week with the announcement that Harrah’s Interactive will be pairing with 888 Holdings to develop the Caesars Palace and World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand for the online gaming market. The deal is being handled by Dragonfish, a sect of 888 Holdings that specializes in business to business ventures.
In a statement released by Dragonfish, the partnership is described in more detail. “Dragonfish will deliver its market leading poker and casino software, ePayments, CRM, Customer Support and VIP services, creating a platform to grow the WSOP and Caesars casino brands online”, the press release explained. This is familiar territory for Dragonfish, who has previously offered similar services for several online bingo sites and smaller online poker rooms like PokerDome.
Gigi Levy, the current Chief Executive Officer of 888 Holdings offered his thoughts on the matter in the company’s official statement. “This is a ground breaking deal for 888 and demonstrates our ability to provide real value to globally renowned, land-based casinos and their leading brands”, said Levy. “We have the structure in place to realize our B2B division’s full potential over the next 18 months and beyond and today’s announcement of our partnership with an industry giant is further vindication of this strategy.”
Dragonfish has already proven to be a boon for the online gaming company, which recently released its mid-year financial report. While the company saw substantial drops in revenue for their poker and casino ventures, Dragonfish experienced huge revenue growth to temper a lackluster first half of 2009 for the company.
As for Harrah’s, they are also excited about the venture and Garber offered his own personal endorsement of the new partnership in the statement as well. “As we develop and roll out our interactive strategy, we have chosen to work with 888, primarily for their world-class technology, scalability, and a strong commitment to compliance, and responsible gaming”, he commented.
Though no specifics have been announced as of yet, the press release established that the WSOP and Caesars brands will be top priority. Presently the legal situation for online gambling in the US is still treacherous enough that the US-based company will likely begin these new projects in Europe and elsewhere while legal action that could potentially overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforecement Act plays out over the next few months.

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