Las Vegas casino owner hires Edelman for UK job

Las Vegas Sands, owner of the Venetian Casino Resort and Grand Canal Shops mall in Las Vegas, has recruited Edelman’s UK corporate practice to provide it with public affairs and media relations support in the UK for the first time.

The move comes as the government prepares to deregulate gambling.

‘Due to the proposed change in the UK gaming laws we are beginning to experience some level of interest from the media on our views,’ said Venetian Casino Resort corporate communications director Ron Reese.

‘We thought it was pragmatic to have a UK PR agency to help us deal with those enquiries.’ He said Edelman was awarded the brief in a competitive pitch, but refused to confirm which, or how many agencies were involved.

Edelman corporate practice director Jacqui Crane said the contract, for an initial three-month period, would also entail briefing the company on the progress of legislation through parliament.

The draft gaming bill, introduced in November 2003, proposes a raft of measures to deregulate gambling. These include establishing a single regulator – the gaming commission, relaxing restrictions on advertising gambling and where casinos may be established and legalising UK-based online casinos. A joint committee of both houses of parliament is scrutinising the bill and will report to the House of Commons by 8 April.

Other US gaming operators are keeping a watchful eye on the UK market.

The Bush administration has meanwhile sought to tighten its gaming laws, putting a bill before Congress to outlaw US-based online gaming operations last year. The bill has yet to be signed into law.

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