Caesars Expands in Anticipation of US Online Gambling
With the talk of a regulated online gambling industry across parts of the United States becoming more and more prominent, Caesars Entertainment is making a move to ensure it will have a stake in that business when the time comes. The company recently took up new residence in Ohio in anticipation of striking up an online casino operation in the years to come.
The move comes on the heels of Senator Harry Reid’s proposed online poker bill, where the diction states that existing gambling companies would have first priority in receiving a US online gambling license to operate. It’s not certain whether this information had anything to do with Caesars’ decision to expand its business to Ohio, but it certainly seems likely enough.
Formerly Harrah’s Entertainment, Caesars is now the largest casino company in the entire world. Its extension into Ohio further swells the company size as Caesars Entertainment has claimed a stake in, as well as operational rights to, two Ohio based casinos majority owned by Dan Gilbert.
Construction costs for the new brick-and-mortar casinos are estimated at $600 million for the Cleveland site, and another $400 million for the Cincinnati casino. Permits were obtained for construction of the two new Ohio casinos in 2009, but Caesars didn’t announce its interest in the operations until yesterday, December 22, 2010.
Up until last year, the citizens of Ohio had consistently voted against the conception of casinos, but as the economy showed no sign of improvement, and unemployment rates continued to suffer, the founding of casinos seemed like a viable solution to a mounting problem. Voters chose to erect casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati, as well as Columbus and Toledo. Penn Natural Gaming will be in operational control of the latter two casinos.
The bill proposed by Senator Reid calls for all land-based casinos establishments who have been in operation for 5+ years to have the option of applying for a US online gambling license, thus it could be awhile before Caesars Entertainment’s investment actually pays off. Then again, by the time the bill passes through the senate, the text could change entirely before being passed into law – assuming it is passed into law at all. If it is rejected, there is no telling how the next attempt at legalizing online gambling in the US could be worded.
Either way, Caesars has already made its leap into the online gambling industry this year by launching a number of branded casinos in regions where online gambling is already a regulated market.