ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -

The world's largest casino company is cautioning investors that Internet gambling might hurt rather than help its brick-and-mortar casinos.

Caesars Entertainment, which owns four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos, wrote in a filing with securities regulators late Wednesday that online gambling could reduce patron visits to its casinos in New Jersey and Nevada, and harm the company's bottom line.

A company spokesman downplayed the warning, telling The Associated Press it had to be included for legal reasons, regardless of how likely or unlikely the company believes a potential risk to be.

Even before Internet gambling started in New Jersey last month, some feared it might hurt land-based casinos by eliminating the need to visit Atlantic City. The casinos are offering comps to online players redeemable at the casinos.