Hyped as Megamerger II following the recent deal between MGM Mirage and Mandalay Resorts, the Nevada Gaming Commission has approved Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Inc.


“We are pleased to bring our two great companies together,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, chief executive and president of Harrah’s Entertainment. “Today we begin the most important task in the history of our company: Capitalizing on the tremendous potential of this merger. By putting our proven capabilities and marketing expertise to work in the incomparable Caesars portfolio, we believe we can generate strong, sustainable growth that will benefit our shareholders, our employees, our customers, and every community where we operate.”


Now the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has grown over its 67 years through the development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. This latest merger means Harrah’s Entertainment In. owns or manages more than 40 casinos in three countries covering 4 million square feet of casino space, with over 40,000 hotel rooms and nearly 100,000 employees.


Rich Pickings


Already the richest sporting event ever, the World Series of Poker total prize pool looks set to reach $100 million predict organisers.


This more than doubles the record the event set just a year ago.


“With each new event we host, we’re breaking another record,” said Gary Thompson, director of operations and communications, World Series of Poker (WSOP). “We have brought in 450 of the world’s best poker dealers to accommodate the enormous crowds flooding in from around the globe looking for both tournament and live-game action. Those players are contributing to a prize pool that will dwarf such events as the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby and the Masters.”


The new record prize pool is a result of the unprecedented number of players paying entry fees to the tournaments. Whereas in 2003, the WSOP brought in 7,572 players with a total prize pool of nearly $22 million, which doubled for the 2004 event, the 2005 event not yet half way through has already exceeded $23.5 million. Through only the first 19 events of the 45 at this year’s event, the 36th annual WSOP has already registered over 13,500 players. With many of the most popular events still to be played, organisers believe that by the time the main event starts on July 7th, the total prize money will reach $100 million.


The phenomenal growth of the WSOP has forced the event to move for the first time from its home turf in downtown Las Vagas to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Taking up 60,000square-feet of gaming area, the tournament area is equipped with 200 poker tables to meet the number of players. The last two days of the 36th annual World Series of Poker will however be played at Binion’s, its host for the past 35 years.


‘I’ve been playing tournament poker for a long time, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Robert Williamon III, Pot-Limit Omaha gold bracelet winner, and player in the last year five year’s WSOP final tables. “I’ve always been bullish on poker – it’s the greatest game I’ve ever played – but there’s no way I would have guessed we’d hit $100 million this year. No way.”