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Gary Loveman, the influential chief executive of the giant US land gambling group Caesars Entertainment, reiterated this week his belief that the federal legalisation of online poker in the United States is inevitable, and that the thinking in Congress has "turned an important corner on Internet poker."
"It will happen. It's just a matter of when and to which piece of legislation it will be attached," he told industry analysts at a Washington press conference, reinforcing recent comments he made publicly along similar lines.
Caesars has an interactive division based in Montreal, which already has online operations active in Europe in partnership with the Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings. The company also owns the World Series of Poker, an annual live poker tournament which takes place in Las Vegas and attracts top players from all over the world with multi-million dollar prize pools.
Loveman was speaking after announcing the group's second quarter 2011 results, in which the company recorded a loss of $155.5 million in the quarter, less than that it sustained this time last year (Q2-2010 a loss of $274 million).
The company has more than $19.5 billion in long-term debt, and in both 2010 and 2011 second quarters early debt repayments of $9.5 million and $12.1 million, respectively were achieved.
The latest report shows that the land operations of the group are seeing less frequent visits but higher per capita spending in those visits, with overall spending per rated-player trip increasing to 5.6%.
Net revenue for the company rose 0.4% to $2.23 billion, with a major contribution from the group's Strip properties in Las Vegas, where revenues grew 10.3% to $786.4 million.
Cost cutting strategies deployed by the group saved around $86 million in the quarter.
"Our second-quarter results clearly indicate that the organizational and strategic changes we've made to meet the challenges of the recession are improving our performance and paving the way for accelerated growth when the economy improves," Loveman said.