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Harrah Entertainment and Gala Coral to Create UK Casino Company

The American land-based casino giant, Harrah Entertainment, has approached the owners of the online and offline UK casino chain, Gala Casinos, to discuss the possibilities of a merge between the two companies.
Harrah is understood to be interested in creating a UK casino company consisting of 40 facilities across the UK, which would combine the Harrah London Clubs International (LCI) with the Gala Coral Group Gala Casinos, which also run the Gala Maybury in Edinburgh.

Only 3 months ago the LCI made a similar offer to Rank, in which they proposed swapping the LCI business for a 28 percent stake in the highly successful Rank Group. The CEO of Rank, however, Ian Burke, was not supportive of the proposal. According to UK casino industry experts, the merge of Harrah Entertainment with a major UK casino chain could pose serious challenges to local competitors, including the Stanley Casino chain which owns the Maxims Casino and Circus Casino, and Rank’s Grosvenor Casinos that are the second biggest operators in the UK casino industry.

However, experts are yet to confirm whether or not Harrah’s latest business proposition to Gala, being an asset for equity swap in essence, would be a complete sellout of the LCI. The LCI was Harrah’s first attempt at breaking into the UK casino market, and bought it along with Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas for £300 million. Both Harrah and Gala have refused to comment on talks of a merger.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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