Legal On-Line Poker Would Boost Liquidity: Caesars CEO
Nevada's gaming commission cleared the way on Tuesday for the state to begin drafting rules to regulate on-line poker, which is starting to get the backing of the state's brick-and-mortar community.
"We don't think it provides any sort of risk of cannibalization at all. It's a completely different business," Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO and president of Caesars Entertainment, told CNBC Wednesday.
"We own the World Series of Poker, which is the dominate poker franchise and playing poker at home on-line is a completely different experience then coming to one of ours full service resort facilities," Loveman said.
"We're advocates of this being legalized on a federal level because the state by state process is quite a cumbersome one ... in poker you need liquidity," Loveman explained. "You need a lot of players who want to play a game at a certain level, at a certain time and the best way to do that is to have a federal mandate."
Caesars' has $21.8 billion of debt and will deliver two ways, according to Loveman: Grow earnings so leverage ratios go down over a period of time and introduce more liquidity into the business.
"If Internet poker were to be made available to Americans that would be I think a very appealing event for our company," he explained.
In addition, Loveman is not looking forward to time when Caesar's becomes public again because the process doesn't generate a lot of appeal to the company itself. But, added, "ultimately a company our size has to wind up public again."
Lastly, he went on to say that Las Vegas is "trending in the right direction for a change," but not yet back to where they were in 2007.
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