WSOP and Harrah’s Free Online Poker Platform Up and Running

August 9, 2010

About one month ago WSOP launched its online poker site, free for US residents. To advertise the big event, Harrah’s has introduced a PR campaign that included an advertisement in the USA Today. Americans can also expect to see television commercials on ESPN during WSOP broadcasts advertising the new online poker platform.

So while Harrah’s has officially stepped foot in the online poker market in the US, it’s only “play money” that’s at stake for now. Although the play chips are not worth any value, Communications Director for WSOP, Seth Palansky, says that prizes such as WSOP 2011 seats and exclusive vacations at Harrah’s Las Vegas properties will be introduced sooner than later.

Palansky says, “This was the next logical step for us. We’ve seen a very good response, with a lot of folks downloading the game.”

Harrah’s partner is Dragonfish, real-money online poker company operating in the UK. Rep. Barney Frank’s poker bill stirred up a ruckus recently indicating that regulated US online poker might actually be a possibility again. Harrah’s wants to be on the forefront of the game plan if such regulation does ultimately pass, though Palansky does not imply this has anything to do with their actions, but rather their focus is on brand building.

“We watch these things closely, but it doesn’t affect how we operate on a day-to-day basis,” says Palansky. “We have enough opportunities to seize and deal with currently that we don’t have to worry what may or may not happen.”

The bill still has a long way to go if it is to ever be passed and ultimately implemented.

According to Palansky, WSOP launched a social networking poker app a few weeks ago. “We’ve had video games in the past. We’ve had a very successful WSOP mobile game that’s in the market now, and has done really well. Now, you can play through Facebook. This and [the play-money poker software on] both basically have the same intent—a brand-building World Series of Poker official online game.”


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