Tuesday, November 1, 2011 : A quotable quote from one of several successful American businessmen keen on the internet poker market
Interest in the legalization of US online poker continued unabated this week with an article by the respected Forbes magazine on how the business possibilities of internet poker have captured the imaginations of billionaire US businessmen.
The article identified some of these successful business executives, starting with US Digital Gaming's founder Richard Bronson, a former Mirage Resorts executive, who saw an opportunity to provide software and advertising services to gaming operators in the belief that regulated online gambling would ultimately evolve in the States.
Bronson found that rich and savvy billionaires were happy to invest in his new business, including real estate guru Steven Roth, shopping mall magnate Herbert Simon and wealthy heirs Robert and William Taubman.
“They are all in it for the long haul,” Bronson told Fortune, adding the quotable quote: “Not one of them thinks this will be a sprint, they think it will be a marathon.”
The piece discusses current legalization initiatives and the market, concluding that first-mover advantage is being widely sought, building momentum for a regulated and licensed US industry.
It is well informed, covering the recent joint venture agreement to enter a US-legalised online poker market involving Donald Trump and billionaire hedge fund mogul Marc Lasry of the $12 billion Avenue Capital Group, and looking at some of the less successful attempts such as Steve Wynn's exit from a deal with Pokerstars earlier this year as a consequence of Black Friday.
Wynn has not revealed any replacement plans since the Black Friday disaster, but he has been outspoken in his support for legalised online poker in the US and will almost certainly have other options under consideration.
The Fertitta Interactive agreement signed last week with Cyberarts by Station Casino group billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta is also reported, along with their prior abortive attempt to get together with Full Tilt Poker which was torpedoed by the Black Friday indictments.
“Fertitta Interactive fully supports the federal regulation of online poker in the United States,” Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement in October.
Back in 2008, the then Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) was acquired by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, run by billionaires Leon Black, Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan, who joined with fellow billionaire David Bonderman's TPG in the $30 billion leveraged buyout.
"The deal has so far not been a good one," reports Fortune, adding that Black and Bonderman are still trying to make it work.
"The company, now called Caesars Entertainment, has been investing heavily in its online operations and backing a new Washington D.C. lobbying effort that includes former FBI Director Louis Freeh. If online gambling in the U.S. opens for business, it would certainly help Black and Bonderman, two investing legends, get out of a tough spot," the article concludes.