Caesars Entertainment Corp. has announced that they will be closing their largest Tunica, Mississippi location, Harrah’s, on June 2 of this year. Tunica’s largest casino resort property, Harrah’s currently employs approximately 1300 people who will all lose their jobs. The company indicated that a consistent decline in revenue over a long period of time rendered the closing inevitable. John Payne, president of Caesars Central Markets indicated that the decision was very difficult for them because of the many lives it will affect, however it was causing financial hardship on the brand and despite strong marketing efforts and support to the casino resort property, they were unable to turn the situation around.
Statements indicated that Caesars Entertainment was very concerned about assisting the employees of the Tunica Harrah’s location in finding jobs. They will be given preference at the other Tunica properties owned by the company, however at this time that only amounts to 80 open positions. They will also be given preference at the Las Vegas properties which are currently under development. They have indicated that they will do everything they can to assist employees in finding new jobs.
The Harrah’s property that is closing in Tunica includes a 14,000 square foot casino and a 1356 room hotel, as well as a golf course and some other attractions. All elements will be closing. Caesars has attempted to sell the property, however they were unable to find a suitable buyer. Their remaining two properties in Tunica, the Horseshoe and Roadhouse will stay open and will provide as many as 80 jobs to those employees currently working at Harrah’s.
Harrah’s may not be the only property that has had some cash flow problems as the Fitz Casino in Tunica recently sold to Full House Resorts. We can speculate that they also experienced revenue challenges and needed to unload the property. It is not clear whether or not the situation with Harrah’s closing is a reflection of an overall decline in the gambling market for that region, but it is likely a thought that is crossing the minds of those involved in the industry there.
Caesars is reportedly working with city officials in Tunica to assist them in finding an alternative use for the property until such time as it is sold. No indications were provided as to what the parties had in mind for the property’s facilities. While anyone can certainly understand the decision to close Harrah’s due to a lack of profitability, it is still a difficult development to swallow when you consider that a minimum of 1300 employees and their families will be affected. The gambling community certainly has their fingers crossed that Caesars will come through for these individuals in some way. Players will now need to turn to other brands for Tunica slots, blackjack, roulette and craps games.