Another "Big Boy" May Join the Fray

11 January 1999

First, Hilton's 20% ownership interest in Australia's Jupiter Casino (and that company's purchase of the Centrebet online sportsbook) put Hilton in the online gaming biz. Now, US-based Harrah's Entertainment group may soon be on the internet, according to press reports from Australia. Harrah's is now the majority shareholder in Sydney's Star City Casino who say they are ready to go online the moment the New South Wales State Government passes the cybergambling law.

The Sun Herald Newspaper quotes spokesman for Star City, Neil Gamble, as saying: "We've got everything set up. We could bring out an online gambling service tomorrow."

According to the Sun Herald, Star City believes it will get the jump on the Melbourne Crown Casino because Harrah's has millions of US based customers on its system computer system. This seems to indicate that Harrah's is expected to hand over personal details on its US citizen customer base for some sort of marketing effort into the USA by Star City.

The introduction of cybercasino gamble into NSW has been a long time coming. The newspaper speculates that there could be a decision in August 1999. Before then, there will be a state election and gambling could well become a political football endangering the move online.

There is currently also a lot of smoke about the Federal Government taking gambling out of the hands of the state governments and this smoke is mostly billowing from the pages of the Rupert Murdoch-owned stable of newspapers, primarily The Australia. Accordingly IGN will shout FIRE when we hear more.

IGN's Mr.Nambling is a gaming industry consultant and commentator with over 23 years industry experience, Glenn Barry has held senior management positions in Lottery and gaming operations around the world. His claims to fame include starting the first successful US Lotto in NewYork in 1978 and the NSW (Australia) in 1979.