Harrah’s Entertainment cuts deal with 888 to use their software in the UK, driving both companies share values up at the announcement. This melding of land casino company with online casino company bodes well for the future of the gaming industry. It expands the reach of the land casino operators into the world of virtual gambling but also positions 888 Holdings in a great spot should the U.S. online gambling market open back up.
Harrah’s is the world’s largest casino company and continues to lobby in the U.S. to legalize online gambling in that country. If Congress decides to re-open the online gaming industry to the U.S., it is easy to see that Harrah’s would be one of the first in line to open a branded online casino. This new deal also opens a door for 888 Holdings to be able to quickly move into the market and be available to the rest of the land casino companies for their own sites.
888 Holdings has so far refused to settle with the government on the issue of it’s previous operations in the U.S., unlike several other companies who settled for millions of dollars with the Department of Justice once the UIGEA went into effect. At least one analyst has expressed surprise in the choice by Harrah’s because of this refusal but perhaps Harrah’s supports the company on principle – no one knows for sure at this point.