Harrah’s has big plans for the UK
By paul
Harrah's Entertainment Inc. wants to build two or three casino resorts in the UK to the smaller regional casinos it previously announced plans for.

Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman said the UK casinos will take most of the company's investment budget for the next three to five years. The company announced a joint venture in June to build eight to 10 smaller, regional casinos in a joint venture with UK bingo operator Gala Group Ltd.

The company didn’t comment on where the casino resorts will be sited, though some analysts are touting tourist centers such as London, Blackpool and Glasgow.

'This is a country of avid gamblers, yet a very small percentage of them visit casinos,' Loveman said during a conference call on UK casino opportunities.

“The company could invest up to £1.2 billion ($2 billion) in the UK, over the next several years on destination resorts and regional casinos, taking a 50 percent stake in the smaller casinos with Gala, “ Loveman said.

The prospect of higher casino taxes and few opportunities to open new casinos in the US have made the UK a more enticing prospect for the major casino operators.

The UK government has proposed a series of gambling reforms that would liberalise gambling, opening the door to more casinos.

'We expect the UK to not only be a leader but a catalyst to Europe as well as traditional markets in the US,' Robert Miodunski, chief executive officer of slot maker Alliance Gaming Corp., said during a conference call last week.

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