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Gaming Guru

Rod Smith
 

Caesars Entertainment: Working the Web for Diversity

19 April 2004

Caesars Entertainment plans to launch a new procurement Web site today that should make it easier for minority- and women-owned businesses to do business with the company.

MGM Mirage, Station Casinos and The Venetian already operate similar Web sites.

Although Caesars Entertainment has previously not released statistics on the diversification of its business, President Wally Barr said Friday the company has set a goal of increasing the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in the company's purchasing to 20 percent.

Minority- and women-owned businesses account for approximately $90 million, or 15 percent, of the company's total annual purchasing budget of $600 million, Barr said.

The Caesars Entertainment Web site, http://www.caesarsdiversity.com, has been set up to help minority- and women-owned businesses communicate with senior Caesars Entertainment procurement officials through a one-stop process and offers information about the company and minority enterprise certification.

A direct link to the special supplier Web page is also featured prominently on Caesars Entertainment's main home page at http://www.caesars.com.

Barr said the new Web page for minority- and women-owned suppliers is the latest in a series of efforts the company has undertaken to promote diversity among its customers, employees, senior management and business partners.

"We are proud of the success we have achieved in building a strong vendor diversity program," Barr said. "Through our involvement in vendor fairs, diversity purchasing committees and minority and women-owned business organizations, we have demonstrated our commitment to expanding our supplier base."

The company also works closely with local and state officials in many of the communities in which it operates to develop closer ties with minority and women entrepreneurs, he said.

"One of the biggest complaints we hear from minority vendors trying to win contracts is that large companies are not willing to accommodate the needs of smaller suppliers," Barr said.

"With the launch of this new Web site, we are continuing our efforts to help minority- and women-owned vendors cut through the red tape," he said.

The Venetian, Station Casinos and MGM Mirage all said they take diversification and their Web site diversification efforts seriously.

The Venetian and Station Casinos sites are: http://www.venetian.com/corp/diversity.cfm

and http://www.stationcasinos.com/templates/department.asp?p=7&d=51, respectively.

MGM Mirage spokeswoman Shelley Mansholt said her company launched the gaming industry's first supplier Web site oriented toward women- and minority-owned businesses, http://mgmdiversity.com, in 2002.

She said it serves as a means for potential suppliers to register with the company online for inclusion in its supplier database.

"In 2003, we enhanced the Web site and now we publish bid solicitations live on the Web site for corporate and individual property opportunities," Mansholt said.

Mansholt called the Web site an integral part of MGM Mirage's diversity program, which it launched in 2000 with a pledge to report annually on progress.

The MGM Mirage annual diversity report is set to be released Tuesday.

The company will also host a supplier diversity expo Tuesday aimed at providing existing and prospective vendors the chance to showcase their products and services to MGM Mirage's procurement officials.