Diversifying into every niche


Back to evolution; today’s news has two stories of a species spreading into every available niche.  Typically the organism that is most likely to diversify is the largest of it kind –  it is forced by necessity to find additional food sources in non-traditional environments.  Caesars, nee Harrah’s, is partnering with Dan Gilbert, a well-known Ohio sports and business figure, to develop two casinos in Ohio.  Caesars, nee Harrah’s, is partnering with an international internet company, Microgame to market two brands Caesars and the World Series of Poker – in Italy, the United Kingdom and: “We do expect at least one more European Union market next year. Our mind set has been to look at expansion market by market.

The mega-casino giant needs more customers, even though it already has a data-base of 30 million qualified casino gamblers, it also had debt in the billions of dollars.  At the moment, the company needs to tap dance on a wire to avoid offending the federal government or one of the state regulatory agency where it has a gaming license.  But if MGM is any example, there are states and licenses it may be willing to sacrifice to gain a foothold online.  Thomas Malthus in his An Essay on the Principle of Population was the first person to articulate the principle of diversification, Charles Darwin borrowed the principle and incorporated it into his theories in the Origin of the Species.

In a discussion group on linkedin – International Masters of Gaming Law,  a recent discussion focused on the implications of legalizing online gambling. Michael Pollock, an industry analysts, framed the issue differently than the others.  Pollock said that the Internet would simply be a different kind of gaming, as casinos are a type, lotteries a type, horse racing another and bingo yet another type; each belonged to same broad category, but each is decidedly of a different type.  Michael thinks the existence of an online gambling industry would force change in the other forms, but not destroy them; and he has done some research to prove his point. He sighted some examples from history – the impact of radio on professional sports like baseball, the impact of television on movies and the impact of the internet on print media.  In  nature, when a species moves into multiple niches over time it evolves into separate and distinct groups and given enough time there is hardly any recognizable similarity between them.  I am not certain where it will lead, but Bill Harrah’s company is doing everything it can to expand and diversify – the rest of the industry will be forced to adapt.  Bill had a different vision for his company, but that company, like its modern offspring forced the rest of the industry to adapt to its strategic and operational moves.

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