Issue 141
May 26 - June 1, 2003
Volume 3
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News
Harrah's New Casino Opens

Accountant Wins Poker Competition

Las Vegas Plans Hawaiian Marketplace

Isle of Capri Casinos to Operate Bahamas Casino

Peppermill Plans New Reno Complex

New Orleans Track Eyes Slots


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Jay-Z will perform at the Rain at The Palms Resort Casino on June 8, 2003


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Harrah's New Casino Opens

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.LAS VEGAS - Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. opened its first casino located at a thoroughbred racetrack on May 21. Harrah's Louisiana Downs, located in Bossier City, is the first facility in northern Louisiana to offer the combination of live thoroughbred racing and slots.

Harrah's is investing $110 million to renovate and expand an existing track, about seven miles east of Shreveport, to create an ultra-modern racing facility alongside a Las Vegas-style casino. Louisiana Downs, which is being developed in two phases, is Harrah's second "racino" venture. The company operates Bluffs Run Casino, which features slot machines and a dog track in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The first phase expansion that opened on May 21st features a 905-slot machine casino that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Unlike traditional riverboat casinos in the region, the slot and video poker machines at Harrah's Louisiana Downs are housed on a single gaming floor, consistent with the layout of most Las Vegas casinos.

Harrah's currently employs 742 people at Louisiana Downs. The company will add another 135 positions during the track's live race season and 200 more at the time of the Phase II opening, for a total of 1,077.

"The investment we are making in Harrah's Louisiana Downs demonstrates our desire to be the leader in the emerging 'racino' segment of our industry," said Gary Loveman, Harrah's president and chief executive officer. "We're going to combine northern Louisiana's most exciting live and simulcast horse racing with the hottest slot machines to create a truly unique gaming experience in Bossier City."

In addition to the 905 slot and video poker machines, the new casino features new restaurants, bars and various infrastructure improvements. New plasma screens allow customers to watch and wager on races from the slot floor. Additional improvements scheduled for completion at the beginning of the live racing season on June 27, 2003, include upgrades to the racetrack turf rail system, barn and stable areas, turf course irrigation, paddock area, winner's circle, racetrack apron areas, exterior entry landscaping and a new VIP Diamond Lounge on the fourth floor.

Slot machineThe second phase of Louisiana Downs' expansion, scheduled for completion in late May of 2004, will include an additional 150,000 square feet of space that will house 1,500 slot machines. The facility expansion will be connected to the racetrack by a new entryway featuring three new restaurants, including a buffet, a steakhouse and a deli.

Harrah's Louisiana Downs will complement Harrah's Shreveport Casino and Hotel, which caters primarily to customers from across Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Harrah's Shreveport Casino and Hotel property, which completed an expansion in 2001, features a 23-story, 514-room luxury hotel, and a full-service convention and event center. The casino, which opened in 1994, has more than 1,200 slots and 32 table games.

Founded 65 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. operates 26 casinos in the United States, primarily under the Harrah's brand name.


Accountant Wins Poker Competition

LAS VEGAS - It was only fitting that an accountant named Moneymaker would put down $40 and ultimately walk away with $2.5 million and the title of champion May 14th in the 34th annual World Series of Poker.

Known to his friends as "Money," Chris Moneymaker, 27, also became the first person to win the prestigious tournament by qualifying on the Internet.

Players and experts said Moneymaker's win will revolutionize poker, solidifying the merger of the Internet and big-name casinos and boosting the game's popularity.

After seven other players had been eliminated, $2.5 million in cash was placed on the green-felt table and the final hands were dealt. Moneymaker, with his metallic wraparound shades, clutched a small crystal in his hand for good luck. Farha of Houston, Texas, had an unlit cigarette in one hand and a tiger figurine by his side.

Moneymaker, who said he only began playing poker three years ago. In his first "live" poker tournament, Moneymaker beat a handful of former World Series of Poker champs, including Dan Harrington, who was at the final table and finished third with $650,000.

The tournament began on May 19th with a record-breaking 839 players. A surge in online gambling and a rise in the game's popularity drew dozens of unknowns and a 33 percent increase in attendance over 2002.

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