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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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
65 years ago, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. operates 26 casinos
in the United States, primarily under the Harrah's brand name.
Wins Poker Competition
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.
to his friends as "Money," Chris Moneymaker,
27, also became the first person to win the prestigious
tournament by qualifying on the Internet.
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.
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.
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.
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.