Caesars Entertainment and 888 Holding Make Deal

10 March 2011

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved a business relationship between Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. and Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd. and Fordart Ltd.,which are subsidiaries of 888 Holding Company LLC. This is only the second time an approval has been given under the state’s foreign gaming statutes. In 2007 MGM Mirage was approved to conduct its business with Pansy Ho’s company in Macau.

On March 24th the Nevada Gaming Commission will meet again and if they give their approval this will be the first relationship approved between a company licensed in Nevada and a foreign Internet gaming provider.

According to Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli, “In 2002, we didn’t have a lot of knowledge about how this would work, but in nine years, we’ve learned a lot more.”

A.G. Burnett, another Control Board member added, “What we’re doing today is looking at the suitability of a business relationship. We’re not granting (888 Holdings) a Nevada gaming license and we’re not making a ruling on U.S. gaming law.”

Mike Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive Entertainment said that only after an exhaustive internal investigation of 888 Holding by Caesars regulatory and legal compliance department was a deal struck between the two companies. As some may recall Garber at one time ran PartyGaming and was familiar with the 888 management team.

Garber says that it would be more cost effective for Caesars to have 888 build the World Series of Poker websites than for them to create the software. Garber reiterated though that “”Caesars is responsible for branding, marketing and customer acquisition.”

What effect might this have on a U.S. federal law to regulate online gambling? According to Mitch Garber,

“It was a historic moment. It confirms that Internet gaming is a reality. It should allow us to look more and more at a federally regulated environment in the United States.”

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