Harrah's hires former PartyGaming CEO

Harrah's Las Vegas

Harrah's Entertainment hasn't made an official announcement yet, but the poker industry is buzzing about Mitch Garber joining the company.

The London Times reported Sunday that Garber, former PartyGaming CEO, has entered into an agreement to join Harrah's Entertainment.

At this time it is just speculation as to what Garber will be doing for Harrah's, but he could be getting back into online gambling as rumor has it he'll be heading up a new division focused on Internet gambling operations as well as the World Series of Poker.

Harrah's has been eyeing the online gambling sector for some time. At the 2007 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Gary Loveman, Harrah's CEO, announced that the World Series of Poker may soon branch into online formats in Europe.

Despite the legal situation in the United States, the U.S.-based company can offer online gambling services in Europe.

However, the time could be ripe for Harrah's to finally move into online gaming with the climate in United States changing.

Rep. Barney Frank (D - Mass.) is planning to reintroduce legislation that could overturn the UIGEA, and there is a bill in the works that would exempt online poker from the online gambling ban.

"Although there's plenty of support brewing for legalization and regulation of online gambling in the United States, it's not a done deal yet," Lou Krieger wrote in a recent blog.

"Nevertheless, Garber's hiring puts Harrah's out in front of the curve should UIGEA be set aside, and Garber's presence would give Harrah's a hand up the ladder in the US online poker market."

Krieger also pointed out this could put the company in a good position to partner with PartyGaming in the online gambling industry. PartyGaming has the technology, customer service and online marketing down, while Harrah's can bring in the WSOP brand recognition.

Garber announced in March 2008 that he was leaving PartyGaming. He chose not to renew his employment with the company in order for him and his family to move back to North America.

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