Harrah’s bonds with Aussies

Jul 3, 2001 5:39 AM

A strategic alliance that developed from the sale of an Australian casino by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) two years ago has been so fruitful that the parties have agreed to extend the arrangement for an additional two years.

The three-year agreement, born when Harrah’s sold the Star City casino in Sydney, Australia to TABCORP Holdings Limited, one of that country’s largest gaming companies, was extended until January 2005.

In the original deal, the two companies agreed to share information about serving customers, administering responsible gaming programs, and marketing and managing the deployment of slot machines. Under the extension, the two will provide additional slot industry research and data sharing, as well as joint research into the causes and potential treatment of problem gambling.

TABCORP has agreed to pay Harrah’s an annual fee of $5.3 million effective retroactively to Jan. 1, 2001.

“TABCORP’s presence in Australia,” commented Phil Satre, chairman and CEO or Harrah’s Entertainment, “has enabled it to foresee developing trends in casino and hospitality management, as well as in the popularity and profitability of slots in a country where such devices enjoy widespread acceptance.

“Many of the developments we are seeing in the United States in the low-denomination video slots, for example, began years ago in Australia. Our relationship with TABCORP gives us access to the latest data on slot usage - information that may provide us with advance knowledge of trends that may occur in this country.”

In addition to the casino, TABCORP operates more than 13,500 video-gaming machines in 278 locations in Victoria and wagering at more than 500 off-track betting outlets.