Interactive chief hints at French, Italian WSOP activity in future
Harrah's Interactive division chief Mitch Garber has indicated in an interview that his company is seriously considering expanding the World Series of Poker franchise beyond the current Las Vegas and London offerings to France and Italy, where liberalised laws have expanded possibilities in dedicated and regulated markets.
Speaking to the publication Inside Poker Business, Garber hinted that the WSOP franchise could push for bracelet events in Italy and France.
“We know we would like to strategically expand the bracelets beyond the US and the UK,' Garber said. “We haven't figured out if [the events in Italy and France] will be individual events, or part of the WSOPE or tied to a larger series.”
The online gambling exec added that the decisions would be taken and announced within the next six months.
The new events would be the first since Harrah's launched the WSOP Europe in 2007 with three bracelet events in London, and will be used to boost the profile of the firm's online poker site in Italy and France, Garber explained.
The WSOP.com site has soft launched for real money play in the UK and a larger marketing push will be launched to coincide with the WSOPE in September, he told Inside Poker Business.
“You will see a lot more marketing from us and attempts to tie in the TV and tournament to the website and acquire customers from that event,” Garber said. “Then our next focus is on France and Italy.”
The publication notes that Harrah's Interactive is currently in talks with local partners in both countries, although the firm has not yet applied for a licence in either Italy or France.
“Our strategy is to link-up with strong local partners and we are talking to people right now,” said Garber. “I don't think we have the infrastructure or local expertise to operate on our own in each of these countries, and it makes more sense for us to partner with strong local businesses.”