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Harrah's CEO and President takes over minority stake in Boston Celtics

21 December 2007

Harrah's Entertainment CEO and President Gary Loveman is taking particular delight in the resurgence of the Boston Celtics this season, and not just because he's been a fan of the team since the glory days of Larry Bird.

Loveman, a Massachusetts resident since the early 1980s and a former associate professor at Harvard University, officially became a minority owner of the Celtics last week, just as the team equaled its best start to a season at 20-2.

"The Celtics have a been a great story this season and I'm thoroughly enjoying every second of it," said Loveman on Tuesday as he attended a legislative hearing at the State House regarding a proposal to build three casinos in Massachusetts. "I grew up in Indiana. I've been a basketball fan all my life and I've been following the Celtics for 25 years. So to be a part of the team is a great honor."

The transaction, however, was far from seamless. Because of Loveman's position with a gaming company, NBA Commissioner David Stern originally denied his proposed involvement with the team. But the Celtics' Managing Partner Wyc Grousbeck was persistent and finally got approval from the league in early December.

"It just became official last week, but it's been something that has taken a while," said Loveman, who is a member of the board of trustees for Children's Hospital in Boston along with Grousbeck's wife, Corinne. "I give the NBA a lot of credit. They already have one team that is owned by a casino in the Sacramento Kings. Many of the other sports leagues – particularly the NFL – aren't even close to something like that.

"But I'm just glad it got done because it's made things even more special for me this season, especially with the way the team has been playing. They're a lot of fun to watch."

A caveat to the deal is that all Harrah's Entertainment sportsbooks, including Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Flamingo and Rio, have pulled Boston Celtics game off the board. This was a move that came as no surprise since the Palms casino, which is operated by the Maloof family that owns the Kings, has not accepted bets on NBA teams since it opened in 2001. Also, The Golden Nugget does not accept bets on games involving the NFL's Houston Texans because the casino's chief executive, Tilman Fertitta, has a minority stake in the team. And when Andre Agassi owned part of The Golden Nugget, the sportsbook stopped taking wagers on professional tennis.

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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT