Jun 24, 2001 7:38 PM

Iowa gaming regulators have approved Harrah's purchase of Harveys Casino Resorts.

The $625 million deal, which gives Harrah's a foothold in the Iowa riverboat market, was OK'd by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission subject to approval by the state Division of Criminal Investigation and a favorable conclusion to an ongoing review by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC is examining the deal to ensure it meets anti-trust regulations.

The purchase places Harrah's in charge of two Harveys riverboat facilities in Council Bluffs and gives the casino giant a combined data base of more than 600,000 names, most of whom are new customers to Harrah's, according to Chairman and CEO Phil Satre.

The purchase also gives Harrah's a new presence in Colorado and a larger share of the Lake Tahoe, Nev., market.