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LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Las Vegas-based Harrah's Entertainment (HET.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's biggest casino operator, has agreed to buy Britain's London Clubs (LCI.L: Quote, Profile, Research) for $530 million, giving the U.S. company a strong opening in Europe.

Harrah's foray across the Atlantic comes as Britain deregulates its gambling industry and transforms its casinos from small members-only clubs into large gambling and leisure complexes.

The 125 pence-a-share recommended offer that Harrah's announced on Thursday trumps a nil premium merger that was being discussed between London Clubs and rival Stanley Leisure (SLY.L: Quote, Profile, Research). Harrah's offer represents a premium of around 27 percent to London Clubs' closing share price on Wednesday.

Harrah's said it had gained a platform for UK expansion with London Clubs, which has six casinos in Britain, holds licences to develop five more and is competing for forthcoming licences for Las Vegas-style casinos in the UK.

"The key value in London Clubs lies not within the existing casino estate, but within the pipeline of development sites," said analyst Matthew Gerard at Investec Securities.

I'm thinking of opening a position. Any thoughts from anyone following this stock?

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