Harrah’s poker plans for new venue
By abigail
While US casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment Inc recently sold its Vickburg venue, it is making moves to buy a new casino in Tunica. Despite already owning a site in Tunica, Harrah’s has just finished gaining approval to payUS$1.45 billion for its biggest Tunica competitor- the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel.

A spokesman for Harrah’s Gary Thompson explained the rationale behind this latest move: 'This is part of Harrah's overall strategy to be the No. 1 player in every market it enters. The Vicksburg casino was actually a very small property compared to the Tunica Horseshoe. This purchase will make Harrah's the Tunica market leader.'

Again proving the rise in popularity of poker within the industry, Harrah’s is also anticipating using the venue to host the World Series of Poker event. The hope is to entice a different demographic for the casino, as while a typical Harrah’s gambler at the moment is estimated to be a female over the age of 55, poker is now attracting a younger, male player, thanks to its recent rise in popularity thanks to TV coverage and internet sites hosting versions of the game.

Thompson went on to comment, 'We have a lot of young guns under 30, a lot of them former college athletes who think it's cool to be on ESPN, who play in the satellite tournaments leading up to the World Series. Last year, there were 839 players who each paid the $10,000 entry fee to play in the last poker game of the World Series. This year, 2,576 players paid that much for the final game. Year and a half ago, casinos were closing their poker rooms all across the country, now, we're reopening them.' Harrah’s are also currently conducting research to help establish how many card poker players convert into poker slot machine players.

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