Last year, Harrah’s parent company, Caesar’s Entertainment, declared bankruptcy as a consequence of overextension and growing competition. During proceedings, creditors appraised Caesar’s vast store of customer data as the company’s most valuable asset, worth about $1 billion.
Harrah’s pioneered the now industry standard Total Rewards player tracking system, first with a punchcard program introduced in 1985, then with a digital program and magnetic cards in the 1990s. Slots were easy to track, and stood at the very center of the program. The system grew even more sophisticated under the auspices of former CEO Gary Loveman. Loveman arrived at Harrah’s fresh from teaching at Harvard Business School, and he brought a methodical business savvy to an industry that, in many ways, had spent decades winging it.