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Julie Moraine October 1, 2020 4 min read
Caesars Expands Harrah’s New Orleans in a $325m Investment Move
Caesars is on track to expand its Harrah’s New Orleans property by investing $325 million in a hotel tower and its casino. The investment would guarantee Caesars a 30-year license extension.
New Orleans to See Harrah’s Casino Expand in a $325m Overhaul Push
Harrah’s New Orleans has appointed a new general manager amid a $325 million casino and hotel overhaul push. Samir Mowad will step into the role and help with the realization of the upgrade for the company’s facilities.
Caesars Entertainment Inc., Harrah’s parent company, revealed the news on Wednesday, arguing that Mowad, who is a New Orleans native, is the perfect match for the job. Mowad served a five-year position with Caesars’ Iowa business operations.
His experience includes casinos, a convention center and a Hilton Garden Inn hotel. Harrah’s property was heavily affected by the closure of all businesses in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The venue was allowed to reopen at 25% operating capacity in June and has had to stick with strict health and safety standards ever since. Caesars has successfully negotiated a deal with the governments of New Orleans and Louisiana, agreeing to invest in the facility in exchange for a 30-year license extension for the property.
The current license expires in 2024 and will be automatically renewed under the terms of the recent agreement. While some details have not been thrashed out, due to the pandemic, New Orleans’ City Hall is keen to get the project back on the agenda.
Dan Real, the incumbent Harrah’s New Orleans manager, said that Mowad would be an invaluable addition to the property as he hails from the region and has accumulated all the experience necessary to run the operations.
Expanding and Renovating Harrah’s New Orleans
The expansion project will affect the entire property with a new hotel tower joining the existing 26-storey and 450-room hotel on Poydras Street. Caesars has argued for the expansion for a long time, as it had faced difficulties meeting the demand from players who wish to stay, and especially high-rollers, but had to be relocated to other hotels due to a lack of space.
The new hotel extension will be built directly above the existing casino floor and make for an easy entrance between the two. Caesars has also vowed to continue to employ at least 2,400 people and add 500 people to its staff once the hotel has been built.
The company’s local contributions have also been continuous. Caesars will invest $19.5 million over a three-year period in New Orleans to support different infrastructural initiatives.
However, the casino has not been unscathed by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the property to shut, employees to be furloughed, and contributions towards the city to decline. Mowad did acknowledge that the state and New Orleans had granted some temporary reliefs, making it easier for Harrah’s to cope with the economic downturn. He continued by adding:
“Long term, we have our employment requirements and so we have no intention of going down the road that maybe other companies have with layoffs. Long term, we expect both business and licensing requirements to get back to normal.”
Caesars’ Strong Foothold in the Region
Caesars, which finished a consolidation move with Eldorado Resorts in July, now owns a series of important and strategic properties in the region. They include:
- Belle of Baton Rouge
- Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Lake Charles
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City
- Horseshoe Bossier City
Mowad remains confident that despite the downturn and difficulties pertaining to the pandemic, Harrah’s New Orleans would be able to retain its staff and post strong results in the months ahead. Caesars just made a bid for William Hill’s U.S. facing business, which William Hill accepted.