Louisiana lawmakers OK Harrah's buyout, criticize new owners

Not happy with Eldorado's supposed neglect of Baton Rouge casino

Thomas Perumean
January 16, 2020 - 8:01 pm

The $14-billion purchase of the parent company that owns and operates the Harrah's Casino in New Orleans has been given approval by Louisiana lawmakers.

Eldorado Resorts is buying Caesars Entertainment one of the largest and most storied owners of casinos and resort properties in Las Vegas and across the country.

Under the deal, Eldorado will control five casinos and resorts (the most) in the state of Louisiana.

But before Eldorado received the rubber stamp from the Louisiana, the head of the Gaming Control Board had a few sharp questions for casino executives.

According to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate the head of the board, Ronnie Jones, made it known to Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg that Eldorado's property in Baton Rouge, the Belle of Baton Rouge, is underperforming property and had not received much investment from the parent company

Jones even let Reeg know the Eldorado CEO and his entourage stayed at the competing L'Auberge Casino Resort the night before.

Reeg responded he knows the property is not up to Eldorado's standards and promises things will change.  Reeg said he is also looking to put Louisiana's second land based casino at the Belle of Baton Rouge resort.

While Reeg testified that El Dorado Resorts would spend more than $500 million in Louisiana during the next four years, most of the money, $325 million is going to improving Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel, casino and surrounding neighborhood along with $110 million to bring a riverboat casino ashore near Lake Charles.

Jones pointedly told Reeg he didn't want Baton Rouge to get lost in the weeds.  And would not allow it to happen on his watch.

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