Tuesday June 11,2013 : GARBER TALKS ON INTERNET GAMBLING
Interesting insights into Caesars Interactive Entertainment in newspaper interview
Mitch Garber, the former chief executive of Party Gaming who now heads up the interactive division of US gambling giant Caesars Entertainment, delivered some interesting titbits of information during an interview with the Montreal Gazette this week.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment is based in Montreal, where the multi-talented and well-paid Garber (he holds degrees in both law and industrial relations) now lives with his wife and two offspring.
The company is in expansion mode, says Garber who just a week ago bought out part of struggling software developer Electronic Arts, acquiring 19 of its Montreal employees and the intellectual property to the Facebook and mobile game apps they make for the World Series.
Garber, whose home town is Montreal, deployed his tertiary education in some interesting positions after graduating, working as a gaming industry lawyer and a Montreal sportscaster amongst other things before taking the reins at Party Gaming, where he earned around $17 million a year as chief executive.
He revealed that CIE has almost 500 employees based in Montreal and far-flung branches like Tel Aviv, Ukraine, Belarus and California, and that his companies' offerings have topped over 100 million downloads, making it one of the biggest social mobile app developers in the business.
Garber said that the advent of legalised online gambling at state level in the United States represented a major opportunity which CIE would exploit, with plans to have real-money online poker operating in Nevada by this summer and in New Jersey by the end of 2013.
In addition, the CIE development teams are currently working on a "…very sophisticated online poker platform."
Addressing the issue of national legalization of online gambling, Garber opined that it is largely an education process on a relatively new medium, and that people are becoming less sceptical on the pastime and its technology. But he commented that politicians tend to be from an older generation and therefore need more education on the subject.
The need for more tax revenue has helped speed the drive toward legalization in the United States, he said, noting that money that’s being made offshore could be made and regulated locally, creating employment income and taxes, and that's an important lobbying point.
Garber says a mix of technology and extremely stiff licensing requirements in North America reduces the risk of money laundering, problem gambling and the involvement of organised crime dramatically in the modern industry.
He has a high opinion of Loto-Quebec, which runs online gambling in Canada's Quebec province and where he was once a legal adviser.
"I have a great affinity for them. It’s the best government-run lottery and casino business in the world. They’ve been great partners to the World Series of Poker, and we’ll talk to them about getting involved online," Garber says.
Describing problem gamblers as a small but very important minority in the gambling industry, Garber observed that the industry has algorithms and software that can detect this sort of behaviour, and flag it for attention, and that there were online facilities for internet gamblers to self-diagnose and get help.