UK sportsbooks may have thoroughly enjoyed having the Olympic games come to town, but it was another story at London’s brick and mortar casinos. Richard Smith, general manager at Aspers Stratford, situated close to the Olympic Village, told GamblingCompliance that despite routine sightings of medal-wearing athletes – including swim star and (allegedly) poker degenerate Michael Phelps – coming through the door, casino revenues during the Games were “pretty static.” With Olympic organizers claiming most of the local parking for their own use, the usual crowd of punters steered clear, and attendance “certainly wasn’t as busy as we anticipated.” London Clubs International compliance director Roy Ramm said LCI joints like the Playboy Club survived on “business we generated ourselves,” i.e. high-rollers flown in and feted by LCI parent Caesars Entertainment.
Meanwhile, rumors that Caesars has put LCI on the auction block have been rubbished by CEO Michael Silberling, who told Intergame the “simple response is that the business is not for sale.” Silberling admitted that Caesars has regular discussions about shifting assets “to determine whether such actions will enhance shareholder value,” but said Caesars “currently has no plans” to part with its UK businesses “either in part or as a group.” Silberling is no doubt choosing his words carefully, given that Caesars’ most recent public move to deal with its $20b of red ink – raising $750m in new debt to help pay the interest on the old debt – prompted ratings agencies to downgrade their outlook on Caesars, making that debt even more difficult to pay off.
CAESARS’ RUB-AND-TUG-OF-WAR WITH THAI MASSAGE PARLOR
Caesars must really feel like flocks of incontinent homing pigeons are bearing down from above. For instance, it just lost a domain name squabble with a massage parlor in Thailand. (Read the decision here.) As originally reported by Thedomains.com, Caesars World, Inc. had filed a complaint with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regarding a Bangkok massage parlor run by a firm called P.T. Complex Ltd. The “upscale” rub-and-tug joint had operated under the name Cleopatra up until 1997, after which it changed its name to Caesars Entertainment and in May 2001, registered the URL caesarsentertainment.com. (Screenshot of the current home page depicted below: “Meet many cute and beautiful girls and be served with various and full services.”)
The fact that as late as 2001, Caesars (the casino) had not yet locked up its domain names recalls the kind of forward thinking that convinced CEO Gary Loveman to turn down the opportunity to pursue a casino license in Macau. (To be fair, the pre-Harrah’s Caesars didn’t add the ‘Entertainment’ suffix until 2003.) Nonetheless, by 2008 Caesars decided they better do something about this newfangled interwebby thing and filed suit in the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court of Thailand to revoke Thai service marks P.T. Complex had registered under the Caesars name. In January 2012, the Court cancelled those service mark registrations, but in April, both parties appealed the decision on separate grounds, which had the effect of staying the Court’s decision until the appeals are considered.
As such, a one-man panel of ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) dismissed the application by Caesars (the casino) to transfer control of the domain. The UDRP panel went on to say that Caesars was fully aware that the Court’s decision had been stayed, yet omitted this info in its UDRP complaint. The Panel stated that Caesars having “not presented complete and accurate information” was “in itself a reason to deny the complaint.” In the meantime, if you happen to find yourself in the Bangkok Caesars lying flat on a table wearing nothing but a towel, don’t forget to ask your charming hostess how much she wants for ‘the Loveman.’